Advent Bible Study

A Guide to Bible Study Methods Found in Scripture

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    Jesus explains how to understand parables

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    In depth study on the Tabernacle from Genesis 1 to Exodus 27

    Verse by verse study of the Tabernacle the way Moses recorded details

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    The prophecies Jesus fulfilled Bible Studies

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    Book about the Tabernacle based on a verse by verse look at its foundation and design.

    Look into the material, labor, and services associated with the Tabernacle.

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    An eBook download link containing a series of short stories on faith based on the Gospels.

Introduction to Advent Bible Study

Posted by Ez1 Realty on September 10, 2008

Jesus teaches parables sower

Jesus teaches how to understand all parables. I was excited to find this study method recorded in Mark’s Gospel and had to write a book showing how Jesus explained each step in a series of lessons following the parable of the sower. Now you have it. Proof from the Bible simple study rules do exist. Locked away in God’s Word…. all you need is the right key.

One of the comments I often hear about Seventh-day Adventists is that they know their Bibles. But how well do we know the Bible? I was told the following story by a very close and dear friend who saved my life. You see, he is the one that taught me how to study the Bible.

I felt a deep need to study the Bible. I went from pastor to pastor asking if they could show me how to study the Bible? Sadly none of them could show me how to study. The only thing any of them could do is share a set of printed Bible studies. This was not enough to satisfy the fire I had inside of me. I searched book after book on Bible study. None of them offered any type of help. The desire of my life was not being fulfilled.Eventually my friend began to notice a pattern emerging from the writings of Ellen White. I have also discovered these patterns. One of the details that sets Ellen White’s writing apart is her use of metaphors. She uses a lot of them and there is a reason for that. Like many others I believe God wanted to guarantee this information would not be forgotten. Ellen White preserved these metaphors within her books for generations to come. God knew that as distractions increased, the Bible would be laid aside. Ellen White’s books do not take the place of the Bible nor add to the Bible but help to teach us how to gain a deeper understanding of it’s parables and prophesies.Ellen White explained many of these metaphors such as, “The parable of the unfruitful tree represented God’s dealings with the Jewish nation.” (CG 27) and “The foul leaven of idolatry, thus brought into the church, continued its baleful work.” (GC 43)

Unfruitful tree = Jewish nation

leaven = idolatry

The more you read Ellen White the more you will notice these patterns emerge. At times she will include the Bible text where these metaphors are found.

It was Christ that had brought Israel as a goodly vine out of Egypt. Psalm 80:8. His own hand had cast out the heathen before it. (GC 19)They had been seeking the knowledge of God more than all hid treasures, counting it “better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.” Proverbs 3:14. And the Lord revealed to them the great things of the kingdom. “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him; and He will show them His covenant.” Psalm 25:14. (GC 312)

Vine = Israel

Hidden treasure, gold , silver = Knowledge of God

How can these metaphors be used? These metaphors can be used to explain verses in the Bible that may be difficult to understand. Following is an example of a word study.

KJV Ezekiel 17:24

24. And all the trees of the field shall know that I the Lord have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish: I the Lord have spoken and have done it.

What is God talking about here? Is there a reason God is referring to trees? What do these trees represent? To find the answer you need to look up other verses in the Bible that use the word tree.

KJV Isaiah 61:3

3. To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

KJV Psalms 37:35

35. I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.

KJV Psalms 52:8

8. But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.

The Bible tells us a tree is used as a metaphor for people. Now that we have learned that a tree can represent a person we can rewrite the text to see if it agrees with the context and teachings of the Bible.

And all the people (trees) of the field shall know that I the Lord have brought down the high people (tree), have exalted the low people (tree), have dried up the green people (tree), and have made the dry people (tree) to flourish: I the Lord have spoken and have done it.

There are other examples and detailed steps on how to use this method of study on the Seven Steps to Doing Your Own Bible Studies link.

This is the same type of Bible study uses and taught by William Miller. More information can be found under the link William Miller.

In her writings Ellen White quotes William Miller’s Rules of Interpretation.

Those who are engaged in proclaiming the third angel’s message are searching the Scriptures upon the same plan that Father Miller adopted. In the little book entitled “Views of the Prophecies and Prophetic Chronology,” Father Miller gives the following simple but intelligent and important rules for Bible study and interpretation:– {RH, November 25, 1884 par. 23}

“1. Every word must have its proper bearing on the subject presented in the Bible; 2. All Scripture is necessary, and may be understood by diligent application and study; 3. Nothing revealed in Scripture can or will be hid from those who ask in faith, not wavering; 4. To understand doctrine, bring all the scriptures together on the subject you wish to know, then let every word have its proper influence; and if you can form your theory without a contradiction, you cannot be in error; 5. Scripture must be its own expositor, since it is a rule of itself. If I depend on a teacher to expound to me, and he should guess at its meaning, or desire to have it so on account of his sectarian creed, or to be thought wise, then his guessing, desire, creed, or wisdom is my rule, and not the Bible.” {RH, November 25, 1884 par. 24}

The above is a portion of these rules; and in our study of the Bible we shall all do well to heed the principles set forth. {RH, November 25, 1884 par. 25}

The early Adventists used word studies to prove doctrine and establish fundamental beliefs. Other evidence is covered in other sections of this site including examples from books written by early Adventists. Word studies are indeed the lost jewels in William Miller’s dream.

This site is dedicated to collecting and providing evidence of the use of word studies by early Adventist. More importantly this site has been established to teach you how to use this method of study to enhance your relationship with God.

KJV John 21:2525. And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

KJV 1 Corinthians 2:10-16

10. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.


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End of David’s Reign

Posted by Ez1 Realty on November 11, 2017

1 Chronicles 29:26-30 NLTse (26) So David son of Jesse reigned over all Israel. (27) He reigned over Israel for forty years, seven of them in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem. (28) He died at a ripe old age, having enjoyed long life, wealth, and honor. Then his son Solomon ruled in his place. (29) All the events of King David’s reign, from beginning to end, are written in The Record of Samuel the Seer, The Record of Nathan the Prophet, and The Record of Gad the Seer. (30) These accounts include the mighty deeds of his reign and everything that happened to him and to Israel and to all the surrounding kingdoms.

David was the first king in Israel to assign a son to succeed him. That was the beginning of a new tradition in Israel, to be more like the world. It also eliminated God’s role in choosing the next king. Most kings had a number of sons. When we look back, Jesse had a number of sons, but God chose only one, David the youngest and most unlikely choice. That should have taught Israel a lesson, especially David.

As time went on, that tradition was changed from time to time. Usually the king died, and the people, or some committee chose the next king. That tradition found its way into Christianity. Denominations modified that method of choosing kings, and use their modified traditions to choose leaders. Some denominations merged a democratic type of voting system with the tradition of men choosing leaders shown in scripture to choose their leaders. In the long run, most denominations found ways of keeping God out of the process of choosing and appointing leaders.

To calm themselves, some denominations went as far as creating their own elaborate anointment services. A public show of their superiority and power. A committee chooses a new leader, so why not create a new ceremony to serve as a public announcement? None of which is found in scripture, but people look at those procedures as tradition. Which in most cases is held as sacred as scripture itself.

When I look at the mixture described in Revelation, I wonder if that concoction is describing the almost uncountable ways man mixed tradition with scripture.

One of the seven angels who had poured out the seven bowls came over and spoke to me. “Come with me,” he said, “and I will show you the judgment that is going to come on the great prostitute, who rules over many waters. The kings of the world have committed adultery with her, and the people who belong to this world have been made drunk by the wine of her immorality.” So the angel took me in the Spirit into the wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that had seven heads and ten horns, and blasphemies against God were written all over it. The woman wore purple and scarlet clothing and beautiful jewelry made of gold and precious gems and pearls. In her hand she held a gold goblet full of obscenities and the impurities of her immorality. A mysterious name was written on her forehead: “Babylon the Great, Mother of All Prostitutes and Obscenities in the World.” I could see that she was drunk–drunk with the blood of God’s holy people who were witnesses for Jesus. I stared at her in complete amazement. “Why are you so amazed?” the angel asked. “I will tell you the mystery of this woman and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns on which she sits. (Revelation 17:1-7 NLTse).

Often times the symbols of adultery and drunkenness point to the same spiritual attribute. Adultery often points to multiple relationships. Drunkenness is achieved after numerous drinks. Combining the two symbols tells us, this world, or that great prostitute will not make one major mistake, like some people like to teach, but a series of mistakes.

Blasphemies, obscenities, impurities, and immorality are key words pointing out more than one mistake. How people interpret this message as a single delusion is beyond me. Scripture clearly shows us this world will fall for, or be lead to a series to mistakes.

Satan is not going to trust a single person, or a group of people as a single entity dedicated to misleading this world. Satan spreads out his deceptions in as many brands and flavors as he can. Satan takes a great amount of pride when he introduces one temptation, then sees people modifying it to suit their needs and desires. In other words, watching people run and multiple his suggestions.

Satan learned that trick in the garden. He got Eve to eat the fruit, then sat back and watched the story unfold as Eve went beyond the call of duty to tempt Adam. Satan couldn’t believe how things worked out much better than he planned.

All Satan has to do is introduce a new tradition, and people run with it. Satan exalts himself when he watches people meet in committee rooms to discuss how to change and modify a few traditions, to personalize them just a little. Satan knows, those modified traditions will branch out into countless other traditions.

People love to take a little scripture, mix it in with a little tradition, add in a few of their own ideas, and simmer it in a committee room for hours. Pride is the most consistent ingredient in the mixture. Pride is the ingredient that causes blindness.

Like anointing kings, new traditions are introduced in much the same way. A new tradition needs an introduction, and a type of anointing. As long as people see a lot of pomp and circumstance introducing new traditions, they must be the right choice. Traditions are dressed up — much like that whore is described in Revelation. The only problem is, each denomination insists they have all the right traditions, and all the other denominations are the prostitute. Or in most cases, tradition points to the worst example of Christianity, the most controlling denomination they can find, exaggerate a few points, then what happens? They identified the prostitute, and everyone feels safe.

In general, shouldn’t common sense tell us, no matter how small changes to scripture may be, or what little parts are borrowed to create and support new traditions, they are nothing more than man made fabrications that will eventually lead people astray to one extent or another? Who has the right to take scripture, slice and dice it up, take out whatever fits their concepts, determine what subjects matter, and which are in the past, then broadcast their concepts, traditions, and man made doctrines throughout the world, and call that the Gospel?

David mixed a bit of scripture with new concepts. People took bits and pieces of what David did, then went a step further. The next generation took that and went out another step. Eventually, most of the world lost sight of God’s original decrees and lessons and rallied around a new, modern, and what is referred to as an easier way to understand the concept of God. For what? Unless people are willing to look at man made traditions, and trace them to their origin, how will they ever be able to judge the original from the counterfeit? But who does that? People prefer to assume leaders they appointed did the job for them. But what happens when leaders are appointed via man made traditions? In that case, one tradition leads to another, and another, spreading like a cancer until the body cannot remember what it feels to be healthy.

Posted in Advanced Studies, Christian Books, Simple Studies, Tabernacle | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

David’s Preparations for the Temple 1 Chronicles 22

Posted by Ez1 Realty on November 5, 2017

1 Chronicles 22:1-4 NLTse (1) Then David said, “This will be the location for the Temple of the LORD God and the place of the altar for Israel’s burnt offerings!” (2) So David gave orders to call together the foreigners living in Israel, and he assigned them the task of preparing finished stone for building the Temple of God. (3) David provided large amounts of iron for the nails that would be needed for the doors in the gates and for the clamps, and he gave more bronze than could be weighed. (4) He also provided innumerable cedar logs, for the men of Tyre and Sidon had brought vast amounts of cedar to David.

We obviously have to look back a chapter to see why David chose that location to build the Temple.

David looked up and saw the angel of the LORD standing between heaven and earth with his sword drawn, reaching out over Jerusalem. So David and the leaders of Israel put on burlap to show their deep distress and fell face down on the ground. And David said to God, “I am the one who called for the census! I am the one who has sinned and done wrong! But these people are as innocent as sheep–what have they done? O LORD my God, let your anger fall against me and my family, but do not destroy your people.” Then the angel of the LORD told Gad to instruct David to go up and build an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. So David went up to do what the LORD had commanded him through Gad. Araunah, who was busy threshing wheat at the time, turned and saw the angel there. His four sons, who were with him, ran away and hid. When Araunah saw David approaching, he left his threshing floor and bowed before David with his face to the ground. David said to Araunah, “Let me buy this threshing floor from you at its full price. Then I will build an altar to the LORD there, so that he will stop the plague.” “Take it, my lord the king, and use it as you wish,” Araunah said to David. “I will give the oxen for the burnt offerings, and the threshing boards for wood to build a fire on the altar, and the wheat for the grain offering. I will give it all to you.” But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it for the full price. I will not take what is yours and give it to the LORD. I will not present burnt offerings that have cost me nothing!” So David gave Araunah 600 pieces of gold in payment for the threshing floor. David built an altar there to the LORD and sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings. And when David prayed, the LORD answered him by sending fire from heaven to burn up the offering on the altar. Then the LORD spoke to the angel, who put the sword back into its sheath. When David saw that the LORD had answered his prayer, he offered sacrifices there at Araunah’s threshing floor. At that time the Tabernacle of the LORD and the altar of burnt offering that Moses had made in the wilderness were located at the place of worship in Gibeon. But David was not able to go there to inquire of God, because he was terrified by the drawn sword of the angel of the LORD. (1 Chronicles 21:16-30 NLTse).

After David took a census in Israel, God gave him a choice. Then the LORD spoke to Gad, David’s seer. This was the message: “Go and say to David, ‘This is what the LORD says: I will give you three choices. Choose one of these punishments, and I will inflict it on you.'” So Gad came to David and said, “These are the choices the LORD has given you. You may choose three years of famine, three months of destruction by the sword of your enemies, or three days of severe plague as the angel of the LORD brings devastation throughout the land of Israel. Decide what answer I should give the LORD who sent me.” (1 Chronicles 21:9-12 NLTse).

We’d have to ask why God disapproved of David’s decision to count, or number Israel. Satan rose up against Israel and caused David to take a census of the people of Israel. (1 Chronicles 21:1 NLTse). It was a temptation, or suggestion from Satan. It’s not by chance this story leads us back to a story about another census. Then the LORD said to Moses, “Whenever you take a census of the people of Israel, each man who is counted must pay a ransom for himself to the LORD. Then no plague will strike the people as you count them. Each person who is counted must give a small piece of silver as a sacred offering to the LORD. (This payment is half a shekel, based on the sanctuary shekel, which equals twenty gerahs.) (Exodus 30:11-13 NLTse). If David would have read that story, he could have saved a lot of lives. Forgetting scripture cost Israel dearly. Strange as it may seem, that ransom payment was collected to maintain the Tabernacle. Receive this ransom money from the Israelites, and use it for the care of the Tabernacle. It will bring the Israelites to the LORD’s attention, and it will purify your lives.” (Exodus 30:16 NLTse).

Scripture keeps sending us back to information about the Tabernacle. Based on 1 Chronicles 21, we know the Tabernacle was still in Israel. Strange how the Bible told us, David was not able to go to the Tabernacle. The Ark was in the tent David built in Jerusalem, but the author pointed us to the Tabernacle as the site that may have saved David. God verified the lack of power the Ark possessed. What does that tell us? The Tabernacle was mentioned as the place David needed to go and talk with God. Why not the Ark? What message is in that story?

Previous chapters in this book discussed problems associated with separating the Ark from the Tabernacle. Does this story verify that information? What about the plague Israel had to suffer? The author placed blame on Satan, but it was David’s decision to count Israel. It was David’s responsibility to know how to take a census. Does that tell us something we should know?

This may seem like an obscure example, and I’d hate to mislead anyone. I’m saying, check this out in more detail on your own. What we have so far is one story about David numbering Israel, and God being angry about it. We have to ask why. God would not get angry or punish people over something they could not have known about. I’m not sure if there wasn’t some warning written about numbering people. I seem to remember something about putting your trust in God and not numbers. But that didn’t show up in any of the searches I conducted.

I’d like to share a little of what I learned about searching the Bible on computer programs. Modern English translations my be better for writing, but not as good as searching. The most reliable translation for conducting word searches is the KJV. Translators seem to be concerned about how words were translated, then used the same English word throughout scripture as much as they could. In other words, the KJV is much more consistent, being careful to use the same English word from one end of the Bible to the other whenever they saw the same Hebrew or Greek word.

To explain that, look at the Strong’s Concordance. Each Hebrew word has a number beginning with H. The H stands for Hebrew. Greek words in the New Testament begin with G. When we see a Hebrew or Greek word with its corresponding number, that number is translated into the same English word throughout scripture in the KJV. Translators were very careful to use the same English word whenever they could. That makes it much easier to conduct word searches.

In this example we have a Hebrew word that could have been translated numbered, census, or translators could have used other words like counted. When the KJV translators decided to use numbered for that Hebrew word, they used it consistently throughout the Old Testament. Other translations were not as persistent. They mixed and matched census, counted, numbered, and other words to accommodate the sentence structure they chose to follow.

What does that mean? Does that mean we stick to the KJV and throw out every other version of the Bible? I’m not sure if you heard from people with that belief. Those people can be a little course and one sided in their thinking. And woefully misinformed. They have no idea why they are on the KJV bandwagon and the harm they are doing to God’s Word, or His credibility as a whole. They have no idea God had that problem covered long before it showed up in this world.

God created and installed a system in His Word, so that no matter which word translators decided to use, the dedicate student of scripture could easily use any translation to see and understand the main thought, theme, and lessons in every chapter and story in the Bible, no matter which book or author they are reading. That is the rule of context referred to as, the rule of repetition.

The rule of repetition is simple, easy to learn, and put into practice. It does require a little practice, but what are you worrying about when you have the Holy Spirit by your side whenever you study? The rule of repetition tells us to highlight words that are the same, similar, and related. If the translators used the word census in one verse, counted on the next verse, then numbered a few verses later, once those words were highlighted the same color, we could instantly see the main idea the author was conveying, or focusing on. Words can also be contrasts.

When we look at 1 Chronicles 21:16-30, we see census was only used once. We know it is crucial to the story, but when we continue to highlight other words, we see other details most people miss. I went back and used bold, underlines, and light highlighting to show some of them. Words associated with work stand out. That shows us it how important it was for David to prepare for what he was about to do, take that census. If we looked at verse 1, we’d see Satan involved. Satan offered a suggestion, and David flew into action. That was the mistake. If David prayed, God may have sent Gad the prophet before David made a major mistake. If David studied scripture on the subject, we know he would have found special instructions about taking a census. What do we learn from this?

The Bible has the ability to answer questions. When we learn how to study scripture, we learn how God gives instructions through His Word, and verifies everything. That is part of what proves the Bible is God’s Word.

We also learned how people get in trouble when Satan places ideas in our heads, and we run with them before consulting God, and His Word. Look at 1 Chronicles 21:16-30 and highlight all the words associated with communication. You’ll see how important communication is in this lesson.

Words associated with work took our minds and placed them where the author wanted us to be, in tune with work and preparation, the only way that plague could have been avoided. Other key words are associated with sin, wrong, and destroy. That is the outcome we can expect when we skip the preparation and planning stage. How often do you do that, or see other people doing that?

It’s not uncommon for preachers to teach something. And people to take that information, then fly all over the city, or Internet to force feed that lesson to everyone they encounter. To a large degree, that is what Christianity has been taught to settle for. No one takes time, and few people have the knowledge to check out what they’ve been told to preach. Like David, they take a suggestion and go ahead full speed thinking they are accomplishing something great.

How does all this apply to the chapter at hand? Look at the introduction. Then David said, “This will be the location for the Temple of the LORD God and the place of the altar for Israel’s burnt offerings!” The previous chapter showed what happened when the idea of numbering Israel popped into David’s head and he carried out his idea without consulting God or scripture. When I searched the KJV with the word numbered, I was surprised to see how that lead to stories about the Tabernacle. Stories about how Israel was numbered or counted by Moses also told us how the Tabernacle was maintained, who maintained the Tabernacle, how funds were raised, how and when the Tabernacle was moved. If David would have taken time to study one subject, how to number Israel, scripture would have automatically answered all the other questions David should have asked.

Here we have David making one mistake, thousands in Israel had to suffer for it, then the king turned around and without a single thought, made the same mistake. How could that happen? We discussed the rule of repetition with words. Here is an example of repetition between stories.

Jesus used that rule of repetition when He taught using parables. Jesus knew He had to knock down mountains to get people to open their ears to listen , and minds to understand. Jesus used repetition to slowly chip away at walls they built around themselves. It is a process repeated throughout scripture in the hope, we would find the lessons and learn from them, including the process. That process is far different than what the world teaches, but a process God knows, and is sure will work, in time. The time factor is not what people feel comfortable with. People want to see instant results. Especially in this computer age.

Based on how the author constructed this story, we can see how fast David reacted. Here is the place. Now bring the stones. God is showing us how Christianity works. Not the way Jesus taught us how to reach people, but how church boards want things to work.

God has other ways to teach us. One of those ways is to put people in our lives. One of David’s most trusted people was his general Joab. When we look at the story about David numbering Israel, we see how Joab tried to warn David. But David decided to ignore the warning.

1 Chronicles 21:1-6 NLTse (1) Satan rose up against Israel and caused David to take a census of the people of Israel. (2) So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, “Take a census of all the people of Israel–from Beersheba in the south to Dan in the north–and bring me a report so I may know how many there are.” (3) But Joab replied, “May the LORD increase the number of his people a hundred times over! But why, my lord the king, do you want to do this? Are they not all your servants? Why must you cause Israel to sin?” (4) But the king insisted that they take the census, so Joab traveled throughout all Israel to count the people. Then he returned to Jerusalem (5) and reported the number of people to David. There were 1,100,000 warriors in all Israel who could handle a sword, and 470,000 in Judah. (6) But Joab did not include the tribes of Levi and Benjamin in the census because he was so distressed at what the king had made him do.

Joab must have remembered something about how to take a census. Joab was smart enough to not include the Levites in the census. That shows how a little bit of information can be dangerous. And it teaches another lesson. We are pretty much useless when we know something is wrong, but we don’t spend time to dig deep enough for the solution. What is the alternative? We can watch people walk into mistakes, or we can follow them into the misfortune by not properly consulting God. But when we take our time, and go beyond the cliches about praying by actually praying, and waiting for the answer, or studying to find the answer, and of course, keep our eyes open for people God sends to confirm answers, we can be of service to God and the people around us.

It seems David remembered Joab’s warning, and didn’t want to take any chances on his latest decision, where to build the temple. David gave orders to call together the foreigners living in Israel, and he assigned them the task of preparing finished stone for building the Temple of God. David didn’t consult with anyone. David called the foreigners together, people who couldn’t possibly question his decision.

Why did the author mention stones first? Does that send us back to Peter’s explanation about Jesus’ living stones? Of course it does. Here we see David repeating a mistake by not consulting scripture, or God a second time. The first mistake resulted in the death of 70,000 people. It was a mistake David and the other leaders in Israel should have learned from. But what did David learn when he instantly made another major decision without consulting God and scripture? It seems David remained self reliant. David wanted to be the go to guy with all the answers.

When we look at the how the previous chapter ended, we don’t see anything telling David where to build the temple. We do see a few other details.

When David saw that the LORD had answered his prayer, he offered sacrifices there at Araunah’s threshing floor. At that time the Tabernacle of the LORD and the altar of burnt offering that Moses had made in the wilderness were located at the place of worship in Gibeon. But David was not able to go there to inquire of God, because he was terrified by the drawn sword of the angel of the LORD. (1 Chronicles 21:28-30 NLTse).

God placed a link between that sword and the Tabernacle. Was that sword keeping David away from the Tabernacle, or was it the mistake David made setting up that barrier? What do you think? What about those burnt offerings? God never gave kings authority to offer sacrifices. That’s what got Saul into trouble. Gad told David to construct an altar, nothing about offering sacrifices on it. Was David supposed to wait for the high priest with further instructions? David moved so fast, and took control so quickly, we have no way of knowing what God had planned.

Based on the materials David supplied, it appears he had most of that planned before he decided on a site. Put that together with the message Nathan gave to David about how God had all the details planned for His house, and what conclusion do we reach? It seems David had his mind made up and no one, not even God was going to change it. Not even the death of 70,000 people. What was God supposed to do?

Often times God has no choice but to let people continue with their plans until they are ready to sit down and listen. God doesn’t force us to follow His plans. I’ve heard people say, “God gives us freedom of choice.” And I’ve seen people take that freedom of choice to extremes. The fact of the matter is, we have the choice to listen to God or not. We have the choice to approach God’s throne, or come up with our own plans. We can consult scripture, or rely on our own wisdom. We always have a choice.

Posted in Advanced Studies, Bible Study Aids, Bible Study Methods Explained, Christian Books, Tabernacle | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Ark in a New Tent 1 Chronicles 16

Posted by Ez1 Realty on November 2, 2017

1 Chronicles 16:1-6 NLTse (1) They brought the Ark of God and placed it inside the special tent David had prepared for it. And they presented burnt offerings and peace offerings to God. (2) When he had finished his sacrifices, David blessed the people in the name of the LORD. (3) Then he gave to every man and woman in all Israel a loaf of bread, a cake of dates, and a cake of raisins. (4) David appointed the following Levites to lead the people in worship before the Ark of the LORD–to invoke his blessings, to give thanks, and to praise the LORD, the God of Israel. (5) Asaph, the leader of this group, sounded the cymbals. Second to him was Zechariah, followed by Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-edom, and Jeiel. They played the harps and lyres. (6) The priests, Benaiah and Jahaziel, played the trumpets regularly before the Ark of God’s Covenant.

Here we are reminded about a tent David prepared for the Ark. What happened to the Tabernacle Moses prepared for the Ark? What happened to all the other objects and articles in the Tabernacle designed to explain the approach to the Ark? Did David do the right thing?

This subject is recorded a number of times in scripture. We can’t help but find this story if we study scripture in any organized manner. Especially if we are studying the Tabernacle or temple. None of the authors recording this story offer any details about David’s tent. We have no idea what that tent looked like, or what David based his design on. How does that apply to present day views and what is taught about the Ark and Tabernacle today?

When only certain bits and pieces of the Tabernacle receive special attention, that leads to teaching about one or a few select items in the Tabernacle. We tend to loose or miss the overall view of the Tabernacle, and everything it teaches about the plan of salvation.

Not all Christian religions know about, or teach about the judgment process in Heaven. And I saw another angel flying through the sky, carrying the eternal Good News to proclaim to the people who belong to this world–to every nation, tribe, language, and people. “Fear God,” he shouted. “Give glory to him. For the time has come when he will sit as judge. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all the springs of water.” (Revelation 14:6-7 NLTse).

Revelation 14 tells us about a time when God will judge the world. Based on the context, that time was after John wrote Revelation. Finding that time is a rather long study you can investigate on your own. The point here is, some Christians prefer to ignore that judgment process. By doing so, they chose to ignore certain parts of the Tabernacle and its services.

Some people prefer to ignore some parts of the Tabernacle while placing special emphasis on other sections, items, or services associated with the Tabernacle. By doing so, can they trust what they teach? When they leave parts out, their instructions can’t hope to be complete. Maybe their beliefs go off on tangents mixing worldly beliefs with factual information from the Tabernacle. The point authors brought up is, something will happen whenever parts are separated from the Tabernacle.

When we look down Israel’s history, we see how separating the Ark from the Tabernacle led to many different tangents and paths Israel followed. Some of those tangents carried into parts of Christianity. Some denominations insist the law was only for the Jews, and not for Christians. From that change they developed the once saved, always saved theology, and others to cover the absence of the law.

Another change we see in this chapter is the introduction of new sacrifices. Those changes led to separating sacrifices from the Tabernacle, then eventually led to making the sacrificial system a way to work into God’s grace. The Gospels tell us how the Jews taught people, the law was designed to follow as a way to work your way into Heaven, and the sacrificial system was mandatory to stand in God’s grace. In both cases, they lost the vision of the Tabernacle. With only a stone temple to look to, and that was a copy of a copy, everything was lost. There was no vision, understanding, and very little communication with God. It didn’t matter what was in the stone temple, their view of the one and only living God was the same as any other Pagan god. There was no connection, symbols were gone, communication didn’t exist, all that was left was a long list of details to follow, and sacrifices to offer. When they put away the Tabernacle, they shut put God’s personality.

What does the process of taking the Ark away from the Tabernacle and placing it in a tent of your own design show us? David didn’t take the Ark out of the Tabernacle, but he could have taken the Ark back to the Tabernacle and placed it where it belonged. Since many people associate the Ark with the law, what does it mean to take the law away from the Tabernacle, and place it in a world designed the way you think it should look and perform?

David may have been a good man, a man after God’s own heart. David may have developed a great relationship with God, written many Psalms, the longest book in the Bible, and taught us a lot about prayer, but what about the next, and next person? David’s relationship with God may have been strong enough to take the Ark out of its environment, and place it in Jerusalem, but not everyone shared that enthusiasm with God. Not everyone was at the stage David reached. Not everyone understood God the way David.

What about those times when a number of evil kings and their sons took everything out of the temple and turned it into a shine for one or more Pagan gods? Then a good king came along, cleaned out the temple, and did his best to restore it. The new king had little to go on. When did the good king see the Tabernacle, or the Ark? The Bible has a story about a king who restored the temple, and later found a book of the law.

Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the court secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the LORD’s Temple!” Then Hilkiah gave the scroll to Shaphan, and he read it. Shaphan went to the king and reported, “Your officials have turned over the money collected at the Temple of the LORD to the workers and supervisors at the Temple.” Shaphan also told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a scroll.” So Shaphan read it to the king. When the king heard what was written in the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes in despair. (2 Kings 22:8-11 NLTse).

When the king read that section of the Old Testament, he saw how little he understood about God, he tore his clothes. Now we have to consider that point in relationship to the times we live in. Every Christian reads the same Bible, and we have a million different views. How did those people look at the section of scripture they had? What did it mean to them?

Some of those traditions worked their way into Christianity. We have seen good people in the past who God did talk to and guide, but what happened after a few generations? We do have a host of different views on the same two subjects, the law and sacrifices. Today most Christians agree, Jesus is the only sacrifice that matters. On the other hand we have debates on what Jesus’ sacrifice really means, and how His sacrifice is related to the law. Some are like David, removing the law from the Tabernacle in their own way. The Ark is gone, it is in a tent some modern day Christians fabricated on their own and they feel they need to protect God, and the scriptures they way they interpret them. But where is the rest of the Tabernacle in their doctrines when they claim the law is dead? How can you have a living Savior and a dead law?

There are so many types of Christianity today, we would have a difficult time counting them. Inside each of those are thousands of little factions leaning one way or another. What are they missing that keeps them to themselves? What does the design of their tent look like? Whatever happened to the original Tabernacle?

Like I mentioned in previous books, every other book I’ve read about the Tabernacle contained sections of the temple. Authors weaved them together to create a custom vision of God’s original design. The deeper we dig into David’s tent, the more this looks like a prophecy warning us all of those things will happen. It is as if David started a new tradition, make your own tent to worship God, and move in whatever you think is important. Then leave out whatever you don’t understand, or agree with. That wasn’t David’s intent, but as generations passed, that is what happened.

Posted in Advanced Studies, Bible Study with Context, Christian Books, Commandments, Explained Studies, Simple Studies, Tabernacle | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Priests Who Returned

Posted by Ez1 Realty on October 28, 2017

1 Chronicles 9:10-28 NLTse (10) Among the priests who returned were Jedaiah, Jehoiarib, Jakin, (11) Azariah son of Hilkiah, son of Meshullam, son of Zadok, son of Meraioth, son of Ahitub. Azariah was the chief officer of the house of God. (12) Other returning priests were Adaiah son of Jeroham, son of Pashhur, son of Malkijah, and Maasai son of Adiel, son of Jahzerah, son of Meshullam, son of Meshillemith, son of Immer. (13) In all, 1,760 priests returned. They were heads of clans and very able men. They were responsible for ministering at the house of God. (14) The Levites who returned were Shemaiah son of Hasshub, son of Azrikam, son of Hashabiah, a descendant of Merari; (15) Bakbakkar; Heresh; Galal; Mattaniah son of Mica, son of Zicri, son of Asaph; (16) Obadiah son of Shemaiah, son of Galal, son of Jeduthun; and Berekiah son of Asa, son of Elkanah, who lived in the area of Netophah. (17) The gatekeepers who returned were Shallum, Akkub, Talmon, Ahiman, and their relatives. Shallum was the chief gatekeeper. (18) Prior to this time, they were responsible for the King’s Gate on the east side. These men served as gatekeepers for the camps of the Levites. (19) Shallum was the son of Kore, a descendant of Abiasaph, from the clan of Korah. He and his relatives, the Korahites, were responsible for guarding the entrance to the sanctuary, just as their ancestors had guarded the Tabernacle in the camp of the LORD. (20) Phinehas son of Eleazar had been in charge of the gatekeepers in earlier times, and the LORD had been with him. (21) And later Zechariah son of Meshelemiah was responsible for guarding the entrance to the Tabernacle. (22) In all, there were 212 gatekeepers in those days, and they were listed according to the genealogies in their villages. David and Samuel the seer had appointed their ancestors because they were reliable men. (23) These gatekeepers and their descendants, by their divisions, were responsible for guarding the entrance to the house of the LORD when that house was a tent. (24) The gatekeepers were stationed on all four sides–east, west, north, and south. (25) Their relatives in the villages came regularly to share their duties for seven-day periods. (26) The four chief gatekeepers, all Levites, were trusted officials, for they were responsible for the rooms and treasuries at the house of God. (27) They would spend the night around the house of God, since it was their duty to guard it and to open the gates every morning. (28) Some of the gatekeepers were assigned to care for the various articles used in worship. They checked them in and out to avoid any loss.

The first group recorded is the priests, followed by the Levites. The third group is the gatekeepers. This followed an order beginning inside the temple moving outwards.

The third detail focuses on the gatekeepers. As we progress, the reason behind that becomes easier to see. This is almost like Ezekiel’s vision of the temple where God’s prophet began at the gates and moved into the temple.

Ezekiel 8:1-13 NLTse Then on September 17, during the sixth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, while the leaders of Judah were in my home, the Sovereign LORD took hold of me. (2) I saw a figure that appeared to be a man. From what appeared to be his waist down, he looked like a burning flame. From the waist up he looked like gleaming amber. (3) He reached out what seemed to be a hand and took me by the hair. Then the Spirit lifted me up into the sky and transported me to Jerusalem in a vision from God. I was taken to the north gate of the inner courtyard of the Temple, where there is a large idol that has made the LORD very jealous. (4) Suddenly, the glory of the God of Israel was there, just as I had seen it before in the valley. (5) Then the LORD said to me, “Son of man, look toward the north.” So I looked, and there to the north, beside the entrance to the gate near the altar, stood the idol that had made the LORD so jealous. (6) “Son of man,” he said, “do you see what they are doing? Do you see the detestable sins the people of Israel are committing to drive me from my Temple? But come, and you will see even more detestable sins than these!” (7) Then he brought me to the door of the Temple courtyard, where I could see a hole in the wall. (8) He said to me, “Now, son of man, dig into the wall.” So I dug into the wall and found a hidden doorway. (9) “Go in,” he said, “and see the wicked and detestable sins they are committing in there!” (10) So I went in and saw the walls engraved with all kinds of crawling animals and detestable creatures. I also saw the various idols worshiped by the people of Israel. (11) Seventy leaders of Israel were standing there with Jaazaniah son of Shaphan in the center. Each of them held an incense burner, from which a cloud of incense rose above their heads. (12) Then the LORD said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the leaders of Israel are doing with their idols in dark rooms? They are saying, ‘The LORD doesn’t see us; he has deserted our land!'” (13) Then the LORD added, “Come, and I will show you even more detestable sins than these!”

The site, nor the news was not very pleasant. God showed Ezekiel what was happening behind he scenes in Jerusalem. If we had any question as to what Nebuchadnezzar carried off to Babylon, we see the mixture of gods inside the temple before Babylon arrived. If Nebuchadnezzar wanted to learn about the Jewish religion, he received a distorted view. God showed Ezekiel what Nebuchadnezzar’s found when they entered the temple for the first time.

People often refer to Babylon as the origin of evil made up of misguided and mixed up religious practices. When we look at scripture and compare a few stories, we see a far different view than the world paints. We see the beginning of that confusion. We don’t find a perfect, untarnished religion being taken into Babylon, or tainted by Babylon. The people God trusted to keep His religion holy tarnished it long before Nebuchadnezzar’s armies arrived on the scene.

This adds a new dimension of Babylon to consider. Based on what we read about Assyria, other ancient cultures, and the ten northern tribes of Israel included, paganism was alive and thriving. God had a rough time showing people His pure religion. Everything Moses helped build seems to have been kicked to the side of the road. What the Israelites learned in Babylon only added to the problem.

What do those gatekeepers point to? Their role was to guard the temple. Christians use the symbol of the gatekeeper or watchman in a number of applications. Many Christians use the gatekeeper to represent their own brand of religion insisting the gatekeeper points to a pure religion, namely themselves.

Based on what we see in scripture, God took Ezekiel past those gates, inside the walls, and showed him what was actually happening inside. I don’t know about you, but I would be careful about taking a symbol, and applying it to myself without knowing the full picture. Was God telling Ezekiel, those gatekeepers didn’t know what was going on behind the scenes? Or was God telling Ezekiel, the gatekeepers were part of the problem? Were the gatekeepers protecting the temple and what was in it? Or were those gatekeepers protecting secrets from being discovered?

We can’t help but see the underlying message in this chapter when we combine it with Ezekiel’s vision. How do we know we’re safe, and how do we know we are following God’s pure form of worship if we don’t take a closer look? It wasn’t difficult for God to show Ezekiel what was going on. Why can’t God do the same thing for each of us today? If God did show us what is happening behind the scenes, would we be able to tell if it was holy, or a well planned counterfeit?

It seems we have to rely on an old Christian saying, “we need to study the original so we can tell when we see a counterfeit.” I’ve heard that preached. That is usually used as an introduction to a sermon on the doctrines of a church. I’ve yet to see a preacher say, “we have to study the original,” then teach people how to study scripture on their own.

It seems rather strange to see room full after room full of adults being told they have to study, then told what to study, then see grown men and woman, many of them, parents walk out without ever being taught how to study. As a matter of fact, the preachers they just listened to insisted he had all the right answers to all the important subjects, but never shared how they found those answers, but once again insisted God had a hand in what he taught.

Parents would be irate if their kids came home lost in the clouds like that. The child comes home and the parents asks, “have any homework?” The child answers. “yes.” The parents asks what the homework is, and the child relies, “I don’t know.” It happens all the time people come home from church, but homes are filled with a system of double standards.

As the child progresses through the grades, they all come home with questions on how to solve problems and finish their homework. If the child has questions on complicated math problems, the parent always asks, “how did the teacher tell you how to solve these equations?” For certain, you are going to see one excited parent when the child explains, “the teacher never showed the class how to solve the problems, all the teacher did was write the equations on the chalk board.” You would see the parent jumping into action, calling other parents, and gathering support to get that teacher fired when the child came home with no idea of how to solve a complicated mathematical equation, and told their parents, “all the teacher did was write the answers in the board.”

If that happened on a consistent level, we would see teachers, principals, superintendents, administrators, mayors, and city officials at every level loosing their jobs, being impeached, and never having another hope of every collecting a penny of tax payer funds. If that were the case, why do we see preachers on every level getting away with telling us, we need to study, then preaching the answers they think we should know? Why does the world accept such a double standard?

Teachers earn a degree by learning and practicing different teaching methods and procedures. Teachers are specially trained to communicate in a number of different ways because common sense tells us, not every student in the classroom progresses at the same rate. What about preachers? Do they learn those skills in theology colleges? If they did, we would see churches run much differently than what they are today. No matter if the preacher is in front of six people, or a worldwide audience, their presentation is the same. Preachers use a few key words and phrases to make people feel that salvation is lost if they don’t understand, or if they ask questions. That is not anything near teaching.

We have a major problem in Christianity. No one seems to know the step by step process to work through the complicated problems and find the proper answer. We have a world blindly relying on people to provide those answers with little or no knowledge to explain how to follow steps that can be used to solve similar problems.

Lucky for us God is not like that. God wrote the teaching manual He uses. So God knows how to explain every procedure. God also knows exactly what level each of us is at, and how to put together a custom made lesson plan for each of us. When we study with God as our teacher, we will never give the answer, “I don’t know how I came up with that answer.” Hod teaches using repetition until we know how to use that process, and teach it. God not only tells us how to find answers in scripture, but earn our degree in His school of higher education. Of course God’s idea of a higher education is far different than the world’s concept.

If your a teacher, you have the ability to teacher other people how to teach. You studied your lessons and know exactly how to explain each one in a number of different ways. If your an auto mechanic, you know how to teach other people how to change a tire, diagnose problems, and take an entire engine apart, replace the defective part, assemble the engine, and have it running like brand new. If you do body work on cars, you can show other people how to fix dents, replace fenders, weld, paint, and a number of other skills required to make the car look brand new. If your an electrician or plumber, you know the codes, how electricity or water comes into the building, how to distribute it, and install the proper safety features. You are tested on building codes and have to pass exams to prove you are qualified to do the work.

What about pastors? People think they know how to study scripture, but where is the proof? Where are the codes and exams? Where is the evidence? Why aren’t preachers known for teaching people how to study scripture, or find that coveted relationship with God and Jesus Christians are supposed to be known for? Why is Christianity known for a mass of confused factions arguing back and forth about who knows more and what is the right answer on a handful of subjects? If those Christians had the right answers, why can’t they explain how they studied at Jesus’ feet and how Jesus provided the correct answers?

It’s time to ask some serious questions, and find where to go and how to get the right answers. Not all Christians are ace Bible Study students. Bible Study is not the spiritual gift for every Christian, or their ministry. I know some people leading more people to God with such simple gestures, many people don’t consider their ministries as spiritual gifts. Their ministries are so natural and fluid, the world doesn’t know what to think, and often take their ministries for granted, chalking them up as some type of natural ability. Seldom is God given proper credit for some of the most effective ministries in this world.

Your ministry may be to help feed homeless people, or listen to couples with marital problems, without ever offering a word of advice. You may have a ministry of cleaning up garbage along the roadside, helping an elderly neighbor maintain their yard, or repair their home. You may find joy in helping a busy single mom get her kids to meetings and events. You may be a prayer warrior. Bible Study may be little more than a sense of relief, or temporary escape from this world. Your one of the lucky people if you have a personal ministry and the church leaves you alone. Too often I’ve seen churches micromanage personal ministries to the point they suffocate them.

People can and should receive training for their personal ministries from Jesus. No one has any right to step in and take over for the KING of the Universe. Not after He spent time teaching His children. If people want to step in and take control, where is their proof they know what they are doing, and Jesus gave them that authority? If they claim the Bible is their authority, can they prove they know how to study scripture before they begin exerting that authority? We need a system of checks and balances in this world to find out how to tell the real Christians from those who are on their own journey, but have not reached levels they insist they are qualified to handle. Who do you want to learn from, the master electrician and plumber, or the one just beginning an apprenticeship?

Posted in Bible Study Aids, Bible Study Methods Explained, Bible Study with Context, Christian Books, Simple Studies, Tabernacle | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Isaiah’s Message to Hezekiah

Posted by Ez1 Realty on October 14, 2017

2 Kings 19:20-28 NLTse Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I have heard your prayer about King Sennacherib of Assyria. (21) And the LORD has spoken this word against him: “The virgin daughter of Zion despises you and laughs at you. The daughter of Jerusalem shakes her head in derision as you flee. (22) “Whom have you been defying and ridiculing? Against whom did you raise your voice? At whom did you look with such haughty eyes? It was the Holy One of Israel! (23) By your messengers you have defied the Lord. You have said, ‘With my many chariots I have conquered the highest mountains– yes, the remotest peaks of Lebanon. I have cut down its tallest cedars and its finest cypress trees. I have reached its farthest corners and explored its deepest forests. (24) I have dug wells in many foreign lands and refreshed myself with their water. With the sole of my foot I stopped up all the rivers of Egypt!’ (25) “But have you not heard? I decided this long ago. Long ago I planned it, and now I am making it happen. I planned for you to crush fortified cities into heaps of rubble. (26) their people have so little power and are so frightened and confused. They are as weak as grass, as That is why easily trampled as tender green shoots. They are like grass sprouting on a housetop, scorched before it can grow lush and tall. (27) “But I know you well– where you stay and when you come and go. I know the way you have raged against me. (28) And because of your raging against me and your arrogance, which I have heard for myself, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth. I will make you return by the same road on which you came.”

This seems rather strange. After seeing how Hezekiah chose to personally chose to address the Levites, and not personally address the envoy from Assyria, we now see Isaiah sending a message to Hezekiah. Why didn’t Isaiah personally address the king? It may have been a nudge to get Hezekiah to do the obvious, talk directly with God. That was the ultimate goal, and what God wanted Hezekiah to teach the Levites, as well as the entire nation. Hezekiah had to teach based on experience.

This is actually a prophecy. But look at how much of this prophecy deals with the past. Most of it. Then the prophecy transitions into the future for Hezekiah. Look at how this prophecy transitioned. “But I know you well–” The word but is a transition word introducing a new train of thought, The prophecy then transitioned in the future. “ And because of your raging against me…” The word and is another transition word. Often scripture is translated to use the English word then to make the transition more noticeable.

I call those types of transition words, timing words. Words like then, and, meanwhile, and others show a sequence of events relying on specific timing. Timing is one of the most important factors in prophecy. Every event in Jesus’ ministry had to be fulfilled in a specific order at a specific time. The same is true for all prophecies.

The first thing God reassured Hezekiah about was the fact, God heard his prayer. This is the major role of a prophet, to lead people to God. Telling Hezekiah, God personally heard his prayer cleared up the fact, Hezekiah didn’t need anyone between himself and God. Hezekiah and everyone could go directly to God at any time.

The prophet identified exactly how God communicated with him. God spoke directly to Isaiah. Why did God speak directly to Isaiah and not answer Hezekiah? Based on the story, Hezekiah spent time away from God, placing his trust in gold and silver. That’s why we see God explain how useless those weapons were. Assyria used gold and silver from Hezekiah and his father Ahaz to buy those weapons of war. The connection between those weapons and the money used to build them should be obvious. Not to mention the time and effort to make them.

God used a lot of symbolism in this prophecy, like He usually does with every prophecy. Here we can see how the story interprets the symbols. The virgin daughter of Zion obviously points to Jerusalem or Judah. The people God is going to protect and defend. That symbol is repeated as, the daughter of Jerusalem. The power of repetition points to how important God’s people are to Him, and how Jerusalem is at the center of this story. God established His own connection between Himself and His people. “Whom have you been defying and ridiculing? Against whom did you raise your voice? At whom did you look with such haughty eyes? It was the Holy One of Israel! (23) By your messengers you have defied the Lord.”

Then God told us how Assyria viewed God and His strength by using key words like mountains, cedar and cypress trees, and the rivers of Egypt. God made it clear, comparing Him to those earthly symbols was insulting. There was a price to pay.

God pointed back to a previous prophecy to show a sample of His knowledge and power. How do we find that prophecy? The easiest way using a chain reference in a good study Bible, or on a Bible computer program. The Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge in E-Sword leads us right to the prophecy.

Isaiah 10:5-23 NLTse “What sorrow awaits Assyria, the rod of my anger. I use it as a club to express my anger. (6) I am sending Assyria against a godless nation, against a people with whom I am angry. Assyria will plunder them, trampling them like dirt beneath its feet. (7) But the king of Assyria will not understand that he is my tool; his mind does not work that way. His plan is simply to destroy, to cut down nation after nation. (8) He will say, ‘Each of my princes will soon be a king. (9) We destroyed Calno just as we did Carchemish. Hamath fell before us as Arpad did. And we destroyed Samaria just as we did Damascus. (10) Yes, we have finished off many a kingdom whose gods were greater than those in Jerusalem and Samaria. (11) So we will defeat Jerusalem and her gods, just as we destroyed Samaria with hers.'” (12) After the Lord has used the king of Assyria to accomplish his purposes on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, he will turn against the king of Assyria and punish him–for he is proud and arrogant. (13) He boasts, “By my own powerful arm I have done this. With my own shrewd wisdom I planned it. I have broken down the defenses of nations and carried off their treasures. I have knocked down their kings like a bull. (14) I have robbed their nests of riches and gathered up kingdoms as a farmer gathers eggs. No one can even flap a wing against me or utter a peep of protest.” (15) But can the ax boast greater power than the person who uses it? Is the saw greater than the person who saws? Can a rod strike unless a hand moves it? Can a wooden cane walk by itself? (16) Therefore, the Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, will send a plague among Assyria’s proud troops, and a flaming fire will consume its glory. (17) The LORD, the Light of Israel, will be a fire; the Holy One will be a flame. He will devour the thorns and briers with fire, burning up the enemy in a single night. (18) The LORD will consume Assyria’s glory like a fire consumes a forest in a fruitful land; it will waste away like sick people in a plague. (19) Of all that glorious forest, only a few trees will survive– so few that a child could count them! (20) In that day the remnant left in Israel, the survivors in the house of Jacob, will no longer depend on allies who seek to destroy them. But they will faithfully trust the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. (21) A remnant will return; yes, the remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God. (22) But though the people of Israel are as numerous as the sand of the seashore, only a remnant of them will return. The LORD has rightly decided to destroy his people. (23) Yes, the Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, has already decided to destroy the entire land.

Here is another example of collecting all the information on a subject. This may be a more important example since it deals with a prophecy. We didn’t need any outside sources to find the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. Another Bible author provided all the information we needed. As we can see, Isaiah provided a lot more information than the brief summary recorded in 2 Kings.

2 Kings explained how God viewed Assyria, who never saw how they were blessed. Assyria wanted to take all the credit, but that wasn’t what God wanted. God took a poor example Assyria set, and turned that into a lesson. Even when we turn our backs in God, He has a His way of turning everything into a lesson, and blessing of sorts.

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Hezekiah Received the Letter from Assyria

Posted by Ez1 Realty on October 14, 2017

2 Kings 19:14-19 NLTse After Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it, he went up to the LORD’s Temple and spread it out before the LORD. (15) And Hezekiah prayed this prayer before the LORD: “O LORD, God of Israel, you are enthroned between the mighty cherubim! You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You alone created the heavens and the earth. (16) Bend down, O LORD, and listen! Open your eyes, O LORD, and see! Listen to Sennacherib’s words of defiance against the living God. (17) “It is true, LORD, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all these nations. (18) And they have thrown the gods of these nations into the fire and burned them. But of course the Assyrians could destroy them! They were not gods at all–only idols of wood and stone shaped by human hands. (19) Now, O LORD our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone, O LORD, are God.”

This is the part of the story most people are familiar with. Spreading out those letters in front of God takes on many different meanings throughout the Christian faith. There seems to be disagreements at times as to what those letters represent. Most agree, it was something Hezekiah felt he had to do to get God’s attention. From there, stories and sermons branch out in a million directions.

One thing few people do when looking at this story, or any story in the Bible for that matter, is look back and allow the Bible to explain itself. Most sermons jump from a few lines in this story into some real life, modern day event. That’s not what this book I am writing is about. We want to find how God communicates through His Word before we begin jumping ahead to modern times, or the future. How do we begin to look back?

There is a simple Bible Study procedure called something I can’t pronounce in theology circles. I simple look at it as, collecting all the information about a subject from different books in the Bible. Jerusalem’s fall is maybe the best and most comprehensive example to teach this simple process. Not only to teach, but to look at how, and what we learn from that process.

We find this story scattered in different book of the Bible. 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, and Isiah are major sources of information. In this example, we will see how much more information 2 Chronicles added.

2 Chronicles 29:3-11 NLTse (3) In the very first month of the first year of his reign, Hezekiah reopened the doors of the Temple of the LORD and repaired them. (4) He summoned the priests and Levites to meet him at the courtyard east of the Temple. (5) He said to them, “Listen to me, you Levites! Purify yourselves, and purify the Temple of the LORD, the God of your ancestors. Remove all the defiled things from the sanctuary. (6) Our ancestors were unfaithful and did what was evil in the sight of the LORD our God. They abandoned the LORD and his dwelling place; they turned their backs on him. (7) They also shut the doors to the Temple’s entry room, and they snuffed out the lamps. They stopped burning incense and presenting burnt offerings at the sanctuary of the God of Israel. (8) “That is why the LORD’s anger has fallen upon Judah and Jerusalem. He has made them an object of dread, horror, and ridicule, as you can see with your own eyes. (9) Because of this, our fathers have been killed in battle, and our sons and daughters and wives have been captured. (10) But now I will make a covenant with the LORD, the God of Israel, so that his fierce anger will turn away from us. (11) My sons, do not neglect your duties any longer! The LORD has chosen you to stand in his presence, to minister to him, and to lead the people in worship and present offerings to him.”

Some people may not know how to locate this type of parallel chapter. By parallel chapters I mean, chapters following the same story and theme. The theme is of course found in the introduction and summation of the chapters. We won’t cover those areas in this example, because the link is so obvious, but we will cover some of the major points the author of 2 Chronicles recorded.

Hezekiah had a plan centered on cleaning up the temple. This shows how cleansing begins at home, and on the inside of a person. Looking at one series of key words associated with talking, we can see Hezekiah personally addressed the Levites. Whenever a king personally calls a meeting and addresses those present, we should pay attention. Most people miss little details like that. But as we’ve seen in other sections of this story, Hezekiah decided not to personally communicate with the Assyrian representative. Now we see Hezekiah personally addressing the Levites. This tells us which subject is more important on the spiritual level.

As we scan down the verses, we see one more word associated with verbal communication. Covenant can either be a written, verbal, or both types of communication are used. Who was Hezekiah communicating with when he made that covenant? God of course. Hezekiah identified the party he was making the covenant or agreement with. This established a personal relationship between Hezekiah and God, Hezekiah wanted to share with the Levites, as well as all the people in Judah. Without their cooperation, the covenant meant nothing. It was a group effort.

This section of the story from 2 Chronicles showed, Hezekiah had a previous experience with God. Other stories like David’s first and early encounter with Bathsheba show how that communication with God is often laid aside, even by the best of people. Stories like those show us how easy it is to reestablish or reopen those lines of communication with God. And that is exactly what Hezekiah did.

2 Chronicles tells us how Hezekiah viewed the problem in his kingdom, and how he planned to go about solving that portion of the issue at hand. Of course that doesn’t begin to explain all the different problems Judah faced, but it established a foundation to study them. As time went on, God showed Hezekiah and Judah a more detailed view of the problems, and plans to correct them. What we have to pay attention to is the way Hezekiah first turned to God, had a talk with Him, came to an agreement or understanding, and started at the most obvious place.

In this case Hezekiah began at the temple where he called in the people he should be able to trust more than anyone else. The Levites could also help to confirm messages from God. Their knowledge of the law was also helpful. Not to mention the fact, it was their duties they were neglecting. Once the Levites were on the same page with God, they became examples for the rest of the nation to follow.

This seems like such a simple process as easy to follow as a blueprint with a list of step by step instructions listed on the side. Of course with any building project, you begin at the foundation. Was the temple the foundation? Not really. Some people may think so. Some people may think the temple was the foundation in Jerusalem. Some people misapply the temple and make their own church building the foundation. If we only had a more attractive church with air conditioning, a better heating system, more comfortable pews, a better sound system, a larger audio video screen, updated lighting, and new strips in the parking lot, that would make God happy and make us grow. All that tinsel and glitter will never be an adequate substitute for what is in the heart. Buildings do not have a heart. Hezekiah told us where the project began, with talking to God and reaching an agreement. Every detail recorded in 2 Chronicles centered on service to God.

Purify yourselves, and purify the Temple of the LORD

Remove all the defiled things from the sanctuary.

My sons, do not neglect your duties any longer!

The LORD has chosen you to stand in his presence, to minister to him, and to lead the people in worship and present offerings to him.

Hezekiah also made a list of the services that ceased inside the temple. Each has a deeper spiritual meaning we can understand today.

They abandoned the LORD and his dwelling place. Where is God’s dwelling place? Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. (Ephesians 3:17 NLTse).

They also shut the doors to the Temple’s entry room. What doors are shut now? “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. (Revelation 3:20 NLTse).

And they snuffed out the lamps. David wrote about this long before Hezekiah’s time. Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. (Psalms 119:105 NLTse). Jesus also taught about that light. Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” (John 8:12 NLTse).

They stopped burning incense and presenting burnt offerings at the sanctuary of the God of Israel. The smoke of the incense, mixed with the prayers of God’s holy people, ascended up to God from the altar where the angel had poured them out. (Revelation 8:4 NLTse). Isiah, who was involved throughout the entire fall of Jerusalem explained offerings better than anyone in scripture. Listen to the LORD, you leaders of “Sodom.” Listen to the law of our God, people of “Gomorrah.” “What makes you think I want all your sacrifices?” says the LORD. “I am sick of your burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fattened cattle. I get no pleasure from the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to worship me, who asked you to parade through my courts with all your ceremony? Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts; the incense of your offerings disgusts me! As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath and your special days for fasting– they are all sinful and false. I want no more of your pious meetings. I hate your new moon celebrations and your annual festivals. They are a burden to me. I cannot stand them! When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look. Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen, for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims. Wash yourselves and be clean! Get your sins out of my sight. Give up your evil ways. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. If you will only obey me, you will have plenty to eat. (Isaiah 1:10-19 NLTse).

It is so easy to learn the spiritual meaning of symbols sitting on the surface of these stories. But too many people have been trained by the world to study scripture in an earthly manner. They look for symbols and prophecies about this world. Their thinking is self centered, and selfish. Every symbol Hezekiah used points to the fact, we need to get ride of those attributes before we can get real with God. This simple example is showing how there were no physical symbols identified in this story. But Hezekiah concentrated on the personal side of the issue. Cleaning up the temple is a personal matter. And Hezekiah taught us how to begin that simple process. Each of the spiritual symbols Hezekiah used added more detail to that process, just like gathering more information about the event from Chronicles taught us more about the personal side of the story.

When we compare Hezekiah’s comments about Assyria in 2 Kings chapter 19 to his beginning in 2 Chronicles chapter 29, we see an unmistakable contract pointing out a simple lesson. Those idols Assyria clung onto couldn’t see, hear, or talk. They were useless. This reinforces the need for the spiritual restoration explained in 2 Chronicles chapter 29. The two messages combine to enhance details.

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Assyria Sent a Priest to Samaria

Posted by Ez1 Realty on October 7, 2017

2 Kings 17:24-29 NLTse The king of Assyria transported groups of people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim and resettled them in the towns of Samaria, replacing the people of Israel. They took possession of Samaria and lived in its towns. (25) But since these foreign settlers did not worship the LORD when they first arrived, the LORD sent lions among them, which killed some of them. (26) So a message was sent to the king of Assyria: “The people you have sent to live in the towns of Samaria do not know the religious customs of the God of the land. He has sent lions among them to destroy them because they have not worshiped him correctly.” (27) The king of Assyria then commanded, “Send one of the exiled priests back to Samaria. Let him live there and teach the new residents the religious customs of the God of the land.” (28) So one of the priests who had been exiled from Samaria returned to Bethel and taught the new residents how to worship the LORD. (29) But these various groups of foreigners also continued to worship their own gods. In town after town where they lived, they placed their idols at the pagan shrines that the people of Samaria had built.

This is an important part of scripture to remember. Samaria was the capital of Israel, the ten northern tribes. After Assyria conquered Samaria, they moved all the people out of Samaria, and transported people from other lands into Samaria. I’m not sure why they did that, or if it was some kind of custom people made up, or chose to follow.

When we look at stories like the woman Jesus met at the well in Samaria, we don’t know if the woman was of foreign decent, or an Israelite who returned to Samaria.

I’m not sure why God expected the new residents in Samaria to worship Him. His own people refused to worship Him. Why would God expect people from foreign lands to pick up on worshiping Him? Because they didn’t, God sent lions as a warning. When the king of Assyria heard about that, he sent a priest back to Samaria to teach the new people how to worship God. That seems like a strange thing for a pagan king to do. They normally force their own brand of religion on people. It seems everyone had respect for God, except Israel. Why do ya think God put in those details?

It seems the new people in Samaria went into business fabricating new gods for all the people Assyria moved in with them. Samaria was made up of people from all different lands, bringing in all kinds of different forms of worship. The fact people made a business out of catering to whatever people wanted to worship pointed to the fact, there was money in religion.

That adds a new detail to look at. Since God spent so much time explaining why He divorced Israel, we can add making money from idols as one of them. God mentioned a few mistakes Israel made, but He did not spend time and space to record all their sins.

That reminds me of people who dedicate their lives studying the enemy. They try to gain followers by posting everything they know about the enemy. They claim the enemy controls this church, that religion, those political parties, so on, and so forth. I ask them why they want to waste their lives studying the enemy. What are they trying to prove?

It may make sense to study and enemy in a physical war. But we are in a spiritual war Jesus already won for us. Battles continue, but the outcome of the war has already been determined. Now who you gonna trust for information? Jesus, who knew the enemy longer than any of us can imagine, and is the only one who actually defeated the devil. Not won a battle, won the war. Or are you going to trust someone who collects limited information from the world. A world that doesn’t see the full picture, and often misunderstands the battles, war, and the outcome. I’d choose to follow the winner long before I trusted people with a long list of defeats, and no ideas how to turn those into victories, other than to tell people, all they need to do is know about them.

Having been in the army, I do know a little about preparing for wars and battles. Higher ranking officers are in charge of studying the enemy. That is not the job of the soldier on the field. The soldier learns from the commanders, then applies that knowledge to the battlefield they are sent to. There it becomes a personal matter, looking at how the individuals in front of them react to offensives, and defensive maneuvers. Soldiers on the battlefield don’t worry about enemies miles away. If they did, they’d loose the battle in front of them.

People who claim to to experts on the enemy are pretending to be like God. They claim to know what the enemies are about to do. Some people claim to have access to secret records. Well how secret are those plans when some guy or woman working on a computer in their basement found them? More often than not, they copied something off the website of some other nut who made up the whole story. That is how rumors spread. Anyone with any military experience will tell you, rumors can and will loose battles and wars. Not only do people studying the enemy NOT know what they are doing, they have no idea how much harm they cause. The distractions they cause are bad enough on their own.

Let’s look at military training in real life. Soldiers train to achieve a high degree of discipline. Without discipline, an army is made up of individuals doing what they want, and not doing what they are told to do. Soldiers spend hours, days, weeks, and months training with their weapons to be the most effective soldiers on the battlefield. Soldiers become expert in the use of many weapons, including hand to hand combat. Soldiers tune their bodies and mind to become a fighting machine. How do we apply that to the spiritual battle?

Wannabe commanders who waste their lives studying the enemy want to take the easy way out. They want to be little generals shouting out orders, but have no idea what a spiritual weapon is, or how to use any of them. Studying the enemy made them weak, undisciplined, and useless. Who in their right mind would follow orders from a general with no idea what a weapon is, or how to use it? Another reason I’d follow Jesus and choose to ignore people trying to take over His command.

I don’t want to get into a long explanation of spiritual weapons. That could be another book. Those weapons are scattered out all over scripture. They range from faith, how to build faith, prayer, how to pray, words sent by God, His written Word, and the most important, how Jesus communicates. When the enemy cuts lines of communication, he gains a distinct advantage. We can’t allow that to happen.

A soldier is trained not only to use and clean his weapons, he is capable of explaining every detail. That is another important factor in God’s army, the ability to train other people on the weapons they have been equipped with, and trained to use. Basic training may come from God’s soldiers on earth. Advanced training comes from the One who won the war.

God didn’t spend a lot of time explaining everything Israel and those pagans did wrong, because we don’t need all those facts. We don’t need to know every intimate detail about the enemy. Like any soldier, Jesus will brief us about the mission He chooses to send us on. Like any commander, that briefing will come minutes before we are sent to serve.

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God Rejected Israel

Posted by Ez1 Realty on October 7, 2017

2 Kings 17:18-23 NLTse Because the LORD was very angry with Israel, he swept them away from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah remained in the land. (19) But even the people of Judah refused to obey the commands of the LORD their God, for they followed the evil practices that Israel had introduced. (20) The LORD rejected all the descendants of Israel. He punished them by handing them over to their attackers until he had banished Israel from his presence. (21) For when the LORD tore Israel away from the kingdom of David, they chose Jeroboam son of Nebat as their king. But Jeroboam drew Israel away from following the LORD and made them commit a great sin. (22) And the people of Israel persisted in all the evil ways of Jeroboam. They did not turn from these sins (23) until the LORD finally swept them away from his presence, just as all his prophets had warned. So Israel was exiled from their land to Assyria, where they remain to this day.

Eventually Israel met their match. One generation had to suffer for the mistakes all the other generations made. It wasn’t quite like that, it was more like those previous generations send their children into a spiritual fire they kindled over time. No one stopped long enough to think, someone had to one day pay for all those sins.

Like a divorce trail, God gave evidence for His final decision. Once that decision was reached, there was no turning back. Israel lost their land like loosing the house in a divorce. Israel lost more than their land. They lost all their wealth, pride, and dignity. There was nothing left. A nation who served the gods Israel went after relocated the entire nation, and sent people from other nations to live in homes, and land God once gave to Israel as a permanent possession. Israel had to live with the decisions they made. And God had to live with the decision He made.

The only thing remaining was to see if Judah would learn from the lesson. If God did that to Israel, what was stopping Him from doing the same things to Judah?

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Elisha’s First Miracle

Posted by Ez1 Realty on September 23, 2017

2 Kings 2:19-25 NLTse One day the leaders of the town of Jericho visited Elisha. “We have a problem, my lord,” they told him. “This town is located in pleasant surroundings, as you can see. But the water is bad, and the land is unproductive.” (20) Elisha said, “Bring me a new bowl with salt in it.” So they brought it to him. (21) Then he went out to the spring that supplied the town with water and threw the salt into it. And he said, “This is what the LORD says: I have purified this water. It will no longer cause death or infertility.” (22) And the water has remained pure ever since, just as Elisha said. (23) Elisha left Jericho and went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, a group of boys from the town began mocking and making fun of him. “Go away, baldy!” they chanted. “Go away, baldy!” (24) Elisha turned around and looked at them, and he cursed them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of them. (25) From there Elisha went to Mount Carmel and finally returned to Samaria.

This was the beginning of Elijah’s ministry. It began at Jericho, the first city conquered by Joshua in the promised land. God brought down its walls after Israel marched around the city for seven days. There were a number of other delays before that walk around Jericho. So many delays, we can see how God gave people inside Jericho time to leave.

Rahab, the prostitute who hid Israel’s two spies, and her family were the only people spared. She told the spies what Jericho knew about Israel, God, what happened in Egypt, and how frightened the city was. But those people inside Jericho decided to trust in their leaders, who shut the gates, to keep Israel out, and their subjects and wealth inside.

Now God sent Elisha to Jericho to heal it. What a change. What a blessing. What a way to share Elijah’s double portion of Spirit. What a lesson for us. God healed the land and water around the first city conquered in the promised land.

The story about those two bears mauling forty-two children is a little difficult to understand. Why would Elisha heal a city, then suddenly kill forty-two children using two bears? Somehow the stories have to be linked.

Who was in Jericho at the time? Israel was. One of the most important things Israel was supposed to do in the promised land was teach their children. One of those things was to understand what a prophet from God was, what they stood for, and how to tell a good prophet from a false prophet. Those children had to die to show how their parents failed. You know those parents anguished over the death of their children, but many of them asked why, or took responsibility for their deaths.

One of the most important things we’re supposed to teaching today is that power of Elijah. A power men, women, and children are supposed to experience. But how many people know what that power is, where it comes from, and how to use it? How many people care? Elisha was disrespected, and look how many lives that cost. What price do we have to pay to disrespect God in the last days? How many children have to die because parents are too lazy to teach their children?

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Elijah 1 Kings 19

Posted by Ez1 Realty on September 23, 2017

1 Kings 19:1-7 NLTse When Ahab got home, he told Jezebel everything Elijah had done, including the way he had killed all the prophets of Baal. (2) So Jezebel sent this message to Elijah: “May the gods strike me and even kill me if by this time tomorrow I have not killed you just as you killed them.” (3) Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there. (4) Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.” (5) Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!” (6) He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again. (7) Then the angel of the LORD came again and touched him and said, “Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you.”

After looking at the relationship Solomon’s temple had with money, and the lack of relationship Jerusalem had with God, I think this is a good chapter to look at. Elijah fled Samaria as soon as Ahab told Jezebel, Elijah killed all her prophets. It seemed like a good thing to do at the time. Was that what God wanted? If we take an honest look at what Elijah did, we have to admit, God’s plans usually don’t include the measure of fear Elijah experienced. Let’s face it, Elijah displayed superhuman faith and courage to face about none hundred of Jezebel’s prophets alone. It took an awful lot of faith to stand in front of a huge crowd waiting for God to set fire to a pile of wet wood. What changed Elijah so quickly? Did Elijah experience some type of separation from God when he arrived at Samaria? Did the sites and sounds of the city distract Elijah long enough to take his mind off God?

All we know is, Elijah had to get out of town and back in touch with God as soon as he could. Was one little threat from a queen enough to shake Elijah? Or is there more behind this story we’re not seeing yet?

For some reason Elijah left his servant behind and continued his journey alone. Since Elijah was a prophet, we can see, he knew he needed time alone with God. When Elijah felt that fear, he knew something was wrong, and he knew where to go for answers.

When we compare what Elijah did with what we saw kings in Jerusalem doing in the previous chapter, we can see a good point God is making. Jerusalem’s kings were a few steps away from God’s throne in earth, but couldn’t make the journey. Elijah had to get out of town and go on a journey lasting days. God was there to feed Elijah. An angel told Elijah to eat, because there was a long journey ahead. “Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you.” Why such a long journey for one of God’s most faithful servants, while people who chose to ignore God had only a few steps?

There is a relationship between what we know about God, how far we have to go, and what we need to do to get to the next step. Finding God has never seemed easy to do. Most of the time, that first meeting is only a step away, but people build huge walls that need to be crossed, or traveled around. After what Elijah experienced, he shouldn’t have allowed fear to guide him. Fear was a long wall Elijah had to get around. God used a long journey to illustrate that long, spiritual, and emotional journey.

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Jeroboam’s New Religion

Posted by Ez1 Realty on September 16, 2017

1 Kings 12:26-33 NLTse Jeroboam thought to himself, “Unless I am careful, the kingdom will return to the dynasty of David. (27) When these people go to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices at the Temple of the LORD, they will again give their allegiance to King Rehoboam of Judah. They will kill me and make him their king instead.” (28) So on the advice of his counselors, the king made two gold calves. He said to the people, “It is too much trouble for you to worship in Jerusalem. Look, Israel, these are the gods who brought you out of Egypt!” (29) He placed these calf idols in Bethel and in Dan–at either end of his kingdom. (30) But this became a great sin, for the people worshiped the idols, traveling as far north as Dan to worship the one there. (31) Jeroboam also erected buildings at the pagan shrines and ordained priests from the common people–those who were not from the priestly tribe of Levi. (32) And Jeroboam instituted a religious festival in Bethel, held on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, in imitation of the annual Festival of Shelters in Judah. There at Bethel he himself offered sacrifices to the calves he had made, and he appointed priests for the pagan shrines he had made. (33) So on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, a day that he himself had designated, Jeroboam offered sacrifices on the altar at Bethel. He instituted a religious festival for Israel, and he went up to the altar to burn incense.

I like the way the author introduced this part of the story. “Jeroboam thought to himself…” Jeroboam didn’t ask God. Jeroboam knew his ideas were bad, evil to say the least. But he was convinced, that was the best way to do things.

Jeroboam was afraid of loosing his kingdom. How quickly he forgot, God gave him that kingdom. Jeroboam also forgot the conditions God placed on him and the kingdom. Jeroboam did the opposite of what God told him to do. What kind of result did Jeroboam expect to see?

We also see how Jeroboam set up his own cabinet of advisers just like Rehoboam did. When we see something like this repeated in scripture, we’d better pay attention. Then we see another vital detail repeated. Jeroboam’s advisers told him to make two gold calves. Were they just like the concept and design Israel carried out of Egypt in Exodus? When we see details like that repeated, we know we have to pay attention, and go back to review.

Most people are more in tune with the Hollywood version of Aaron and his golden calf. The story is found in Exodus chapter 32. The only thing most people know about that calf is, Aaron tried to pass the blame for that calf off to the people. But a lot of details lead up to that story.

Of course most people know, God placed a series of plagues on Egypt to convince Pharaoh to let his slaves in Israel go. Before leaving Egypt, God used the Passover to reintroduce the priesthood at the family level. That’s where it had been with Abraham, Issac, Jacob, and when we look back, all the way back to Adam. Then God opened up the Red Sea to allow Israel through, but drowned the Egyptian army. A month after leaving Egypt, God met the entire nation of Israel at His mountain. People like to place all kinds of spiritual interpretations on mountains all over the Bible. How about looking at a mountain where you go to personally meet God? That may be a little rough for some people to accept, based on the fact, Israel faced a major decision at the mountain. To follow God on His terms, or their own.

Moses already made the decision, and dedicated his life to following God. He climbed that mountain to meet with God. Joshua went with him. Moses came back with chapter after chapter of information containing details about the Ark and Tabernacle. Moses also came back with pages of special instructions explaining God’s Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments Israel first accepted, then later decided not to follow. At first, God gave those commandments in a verbal form. God would have explained each one on a personal level, but Israel turned down that offer. So God gave Moses a set of stones with those Commandments written on them, so they wouldn’t forget them. Those stones also represented the set of Ten Commandments in Heaven. The Commandments and law Jesus is using to judge this world.

When Moses returned to the mountain, people got this crazy idea to make a god just like one of those they had in Egypt. There must have been a long discussion about which god to copy, since they had a lot to choose from. Israel must have decided to appoint a committee to make the decision. That committee was their first idol. Compared to a committee, that golden idol Aaron made was easy to deal with. Moses burnt in in a fire, smashed it, ground it into powder, and made them drink it in water. That was to remind them, there was too much Egypt they carried away with themselves. Eventually that gold passed though all of them, and was dumped in the wilderness in a form no one was about to try and recover the little specs of gold from. God knew what He was going to make a point.

God had His own way of showing what good that stuff Israel brought out of Egypt was. Sure gold, silver, and bronze carried out of Egypt was used in the Tabernacle, but those metals were melted and purified. And the wood. That was taken from the wilderness they settled in while making the Tabernacle. The linen curtains were made, most likely from thread taken from Egypt, but hand formed into something new and useful. The rebuilding process for the Tabernacle reflects our own rebuilding process. We are all different, and our journey requires many steps.

What about Jeroboam? What did he take out of Egypt and why? We saw how Jeroboam had to leave his family, friends, and life behind when he fled to Egypt. If he carried anger into Egypt, that surely influenced his interests and motivation in Egypt. Jeroboam should have been happy God promised him a kingdom. If he refused to give all the credit to God, he left himself wide open to spiritual attacks from the enemy.

Knowing how Solomon felt about the temple left Jeroboam with a sour attitude towards God, and the from of worship Jeroboam should have know about. The wrong attitude forced Jeroboam to lash out any way he could. Jeroboam didn’t know he was lashing out at God. Jeroboam was too busy lashing out at Solomon, the man who cost Jeroboam his job, and many years of his life separated from where he wanted to be.

We often see the same attitude with Christian splinter groups. A small group of people get upset over some subject. They decide to leave. A personal attachment to the building and some of the people remain, or is carried away with them. To lash out at the powers in control, they begin to go over the deep end, making rash decisions they think is serving God, but really serving themselves, and their new found, often unbiblical ideas. They may not go as far a Jeroboam, but they linger on the fringes of spiritual apostasy.

When you create your own religion, of course you have to establish a new tradition to appoint your own priests. Another misconception people have with scripture. You can tell their new religion is their own concept when they continue to establish a new organized form of worship, while neglecting God’s simple plan of placing the priesthood in the home.

Jeroboam went as far as instituting new festivals to honor himself and his new religion. Placing his festival one month after the Festival of Shelters showed how spiteful Jeroboam was. When we look at this on a weekly, base seven, this becomes a prophetic message, showing how God’s Sabbath was moved from the seventh to the first day of the week. In a base seven numbering system, eighth begins a new series of numbers restarting with one, and adding a second digit.

Would all of those stories together tell us how people establish new traditions, and how they distract people away from God’s simple plan of salvation? What is the connection between taxes and traditions?

As a whole, traditions separate people from God. As a whole, taxes take the focus off God by teaching people, we can solve all our problems. All we need is more money. More money to spend on committees of the nations greatest minds to tell us how to solve problems. More money to spend on projects, which is nothing more than building monuments to men. The Bible has a story telling us how Babel tried that. They built a tower. God let them get so far before He said, “enough it enough.” That tower failed. That tower took a lot of tax dollars to build. That tower stood as a man made monument against God. That tower showed how men didn’t trust God.

Jeroboam raised taxes to build towns, and establish a new religion heaped with new traditions to honor himself. God established worship, festivals, laws, commandments, and His own version of taxes, each to honor himself, and to teach about His plan of salvation for this fallen world. When we see stories like this one about Jeroboam, we see men trying to become God. What happened to Jeroboam and his kingdom? They are gone, but God is still here with us.

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Zechariah 3:8-10 The Branch

Posted by Ez1 Realty on May 19, 2017

PF Proverbs to Malachi

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Zechariah 3:8-10 NLTse “Listen to me, O Jeshua the high priest, and all you other priests. You are symbols of things to come. Soon I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. (9) Now look at the jewel I have set before Jeshua, a single stone with seven facets. I will engrave an inscription on it, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, and I will remove the sins of this land in a single day. (10) “And on that day, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, each of you will invite your neighbor to sit with you peacefully under your own grapevine and fig tree.”

This seems to be one of the more unusual prophecies about Jesus. In it Zechariah refers to Jesus as a Branch. I’ve seen people use this as proof texts to identify a symbol in other parts of the Bible, but I’ve never seen anyone try to explain this prophecy as it stands. Once again we have a prophecy in a chapter that is divided into two parts. One of those parts is the prophecy and in this case summation. The other part of course is the introduction. As we already know from previous studies, the introduction and summation are vital parts of a chapter. They explain the context of the chapter. When associated with a prophecy, the introduction and summation also ensure we apply the correct theme to the prophecy.

PRM Front Cover Book 8 Isa 63 to Zech 3

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Once we highlight the key words, two things are apparent. Branch is not repeated. Although it is associated with the LORD, that is not apparent until we identify the symbol. So we can see, the symbol is not the most important feature in the Texts. Branch is not a word we would use to search for a parallel chapter or the fulfillment of the prophecy. What conclusion does that lead us to? Context is more important than symbolism. The author wants us to understand the theme and lesson in scripture before we go off hunting to solve the meaning of a symbol.

When you think of it, what is more important, solving a symbol or learning the lesson locked away within the scripture? The lesson of course. When you discipline a child, which is more important? What the belt symbolizes, or the lesson you are teaching? The biggest belt in the world is not going to make a difference if the child keeps making the same mistake. No wonder the world views God as a tyrant and wants nothing to do with Him. Preachers keep emphasizing symbols of gloom and doom while they have absolutely no idea what the lesson is. As a spokesman for God they’ve failed. Their success rate at leading people to God is as miserable as the message they create.

My dad always said, “don’t complain unless you got a better idea.” Well let’s do something completely different from what the world does. Let’s let God’s Word explain this prophecy and see what He wanted it to say. In this case we are limited on key words to use to search for related texts. We can use either priest or the combination of engrave and inscription. I put the study away for a night and prayed about it. I thought this study wasn’t going to lead anywhere.

In the morning I thought of a few texts in Hebrews. I could see how Hebrews explained how priests were used as a symbol. After all, a great deal of Hebrews explained that very subject in detail. Now it was a matter of searching the New Testament texts with the word priest. There are more than a few. Reading each one will tell you which fit the context of Zechariah 3 and which do not. A few in Hebrews seemed to be the best fit. The introduction and summations in Hebrews 2 appear to add the most amount of detail to those in Zechariah 3. The lessons unfold as we compare key words and texts in each chapter.

Hebrews 2:10-18 NLTse God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation. (11) So now Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters. (12) For he said to God, “I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters. I will praise you among your assembled people.” (13) He also said, “I will put my trust in him,” that is, “I and the children God has given me.” (14) Because God’s children are human beings–made of flesh and blood–the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. (15) Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. (16) We also know that the Son did not come to help angels; he came to help the descendants of Abraham. (17) Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. (18) Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.

The prophecy in Zechariah 3 used the key word priest to draw our attention to one verse. “Listen to me, O Jeshua the high priest, and all you other priests. You are symbols of things to come. Soon I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. Hebrews 2 is one of those chapters that explained how that prophecy was fulfilled. Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. So we see how using key words leads us to the correct interpretation of the symbol Branch, in addition to showing us the lesson that goes hand in hand with the prophecy. Using the symbol to search for its spiritual meaning may or may not lead to the correct interpretation and in most cases will not lead to the lesson associated with the symbol. In most cases, teachers use the symbol to search for a meaning, and what do they do after they locate something they think fits? They preach what they think it means. In this example we let the key words lead us to scripture which told us, Jesus became like us and then became God’s High Priest. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Every symbol points to a much greater fulfillment. In this case we see Branch does point to Jesus and two very important aspects of His ministry. He left His throne in Heaven to become like us. What lessons does that bring to mind? We are also shown Jesus had to go through a process to become that sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. This example showing how to study within context reveals not only the proper interpretation of the symbol, but the lesson.

Zechariah repeated another series of words. Now look at the jewel I have set before Jeshua, a single stone with seven facets. I will engrave and inscription on it, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, and I will remove the sins of this land in a single day. We see engrave and inscription are related to the removal of sins. At this point we have a choice. We can try to explain the symbolism ourselves, use the symbols to search for an answer, or stick to the context by looking for related words in the recorded fulfillment we located.

Hebrews 2:10-18 repeated key words brothers and sisters, children, human beings, and descendants. We can see an emphasis on Jesus’ close connection with us, human beings. From this point we could go on with a number of verses from a number of books describing that connection and love. We can see a spiritual connection between engrave and inscription with human beings. After we understand that relationship, we can look at scripture that connection reminds us of. “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it. (Revelation 2:17 NLTse). Here we see the related word engraved as well as the word stone. Now here is an important detail to always remember when a symbol is used to search for a related texts. Always check the context. We verify context by looking at the introduction and summation.

Revelation 2:1-3 NLTse “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Ephesus. This is the message from the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand, the one who walks among the seven gold lampstands: (2) “I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. (3) You have patiently suffered for me without quitting.

Revelation 2:26-29 NLTse (26) To all who are victorious, who obey me to the very end, To them I will give authority over all the nations. (27) They will rule the nations with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots. (28) They will have the same authority I received from my Father, and I will also give them the morning star! (29) “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.

We see the introduction and summation both deal with a message. Both the introduction and summation tell where that message comes from. This is the message from the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand, the one who walks among the seven gold lampstands: “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. This is the main theme in the chapter and shows us how the stone engraved with a new name relates to the main theme. Look at other key words and phrases concerning that stone. I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. A new name that no one understands except the one who receives it. Manna is another spiritual word with a physical and spiritual meaning. We also see when that name is received, those who receive the new name with understand it.

How does Revelation relate to the Branch in Zechariah? Both refer to a stone. Zechariah referred to a symbol. Revelation tells us how to understand that symbol and others. The message given in Revelation is from Jesus, the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand, the one who walks among the seven gold lampstands. We receive understanding from His Spirit. This may seem like simple details but we are accumulating a list of details about the Branch and symbol the high priest Jeshua in Zechariah points to. It is also a lesson showing how context will develop its own list.

The branch tells us:

Priests are symbols of things to come.

Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation.

Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same Father.

Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters.

The Son also became flesh and blood.

Only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.

Jesus is our merciful and faithful High Priest before God.

Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people.

Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.

The stone tells us:

I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance.

You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not.

You have patiently suffered for me without quitting.

I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven.

The stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.

They will have the same authority I received from my Father, and I will also give them the morning star!

Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.

What would you learn if you followed the general method used to find the meaning of a symbol? I’m sure you would have found out the Branch represents Jesus. But what would you learn? Would that simple method teach any lessons? Look what context showed. Which Bible Study method leads to the greater understanding of God and His Word you are looking for?

I don’t want to miss a detail. When scripture tells me there is a name I am going to understand, I’m going to look back on scripture to see if there is a name I need to understand. There is one, Jeshua. The only thing to do is look it up in the Hebrew dictionary.

H3091 יהושׁע יהושׁוּע yehôshûa‛ yehôshûa‛

yeh-ho-shoo’-ah, yeh-ho-shoo’-ah

From H3068 and H3467; Jehovah-saved; Jehoshua (that is, Joshua), the Jewish leader: – Jehoshua, Jehoshuah, Joshua. Compare H1954, H3442.

H3068 יהוה yehôvâh


From H1961; (the) self Existent or eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God: – Jehovah, the Lord. Compare H3050, H3069.

H3467 ישׁע yâsha‛


A primitive root; properly to be open, wide or free, that is, (by implication) to be safe; causatively to free or succor: – X at all, avenging, defend, deliver (-er), help, preserve, rescue, be safe, bring (having) salvation, save (-iour), get victory.

We can see the name itself tells us, God will open up a way to free us, to be saved. There is one more thing we have to compare, the introductions. We’ve already compared the summaries in the prophecy and its recorded fulfillment.

Zechariah 3:1-7 NLTse Then the angel showed me Jeshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD. The Accuser, Satan, was there at the angel’s right hand, making accusations against Jeshua. (2) And the LORD said to Satan, “I, the LORD, reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you. This man is like a burning stick that has been snatched from the fire.” (3) Jeshua’s clothing was filthy as he stood there before the angel. (4) So the angel said to the others standing there, “Take off his filthy clothes.” And turning to Jeshua he said, “See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes.” (5) Then I said, “They should also place a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean priestly turban on his head and dressed him in new clothes while the angel of the LORD stood by. (6) Then the angel of the LORD spoke very solemnly to Jeshua and said, (7) “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: If you follow my ways and carefully serve me, then you will be given authority over my Temple and its courtyards. I will let you walk among these others standing here.

Hebrews 2:1-9 NLTse So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it. (2) For the message God delivered through angels has always stood firm, and every violation of the law and every act of disobedience was punished. (3) So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak? (4) And God confirmed the message by giving signs and wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit whenever he chose. (5) And furthermore, it is not angels who will control the future world we are talking about. (6) For in one place the Scriptures say, “What are people that you should think of them, or a son of man that you should care for him? (7) Yet you made them only a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. (8) You gave them authority over all things.” Now when it says “all things,” it means nothing is left out. But we have not yet seen all things put under their authority. (9) What we do see is Jesus, who was given a position “a little lower than the angels”; and because he suffered death for us, he is now “crowned with glory and honor.” Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone.

Both chapters deal with angels. The angel showed Zechariah a vision of Jeshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD. We already know Jeshua is a symbol pointing to Jesus. We found this information by following general rules of context. The Accuser, Satan, was there at the angel’s right hand, making accusations against Jeshua. This reveals the war Jesus and Satan are fighting this very moment. As usual, symbols always point to a greater fulfillment. Hebrews showed us how Jesus became human to share the same conflicts we face. Being accused by Satan is included in those trials. So Jeshua the high priest represents both Jesus and us. Jesus had to endure Satan’s accusations longer then we have. The LORD said to Satan, “I, the LORD, reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you. This gets into a long process. We have to ask how and why God rejected Satan’s accusations.

Jeshua’s clothing was filthy as he stood there before the angel. Zechariah introduced another symbol, clothing. Once again we stick with context and allow God’s Word to explain both the symbol and the lesson. “See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes.” Most of the time symbols are explained in the chapter it is found in.

General rules of context tells us the summaries should follow the same theme and teach the same lesson. Zechariah described a trial where God changed Jeshua’s clothing, representing removal or cleaning of sins. Hebrews introduced another view or concept of a trial. So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it. For the message God delivered through angels has always stood firm, and every violation of the law and every act of disobedience was punished. The key point in Hebrews 2 is to listen to the message. Hebrews added the concept of punishment to the theme of a trial. If we looked at judgment from the any view point without considering the chance of punishment, we would never understand the full message. So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak? God knew the world would find a way to introduce concepts that would make people ignore or forget the concept of a trial on all its levels. Satan not only used accusations, but deceptions. One of those things he is going to accuse people of is not knowing the truth because they never took salvation seriously. Look at who first announced that salvation – Jesus. When Satan accuses people of not knowing the full story of salvation, he is accusing them of not knowing Jesus. And God confirmed the message by giving signs and wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit whenever he chose. Not only do those people not know Jesus, they can’t see or understand God’s signs, wonders, miracles, gifts, or Holy Spirit.

We see another rule of context to follow. When scripture is quoted, we need to review the entire chapter. Psalms 8 is a short chapter that will not take long to review.

Psalms 8:1-9 NLTse O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens. (2) You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you. (3) When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers– the moon and the stars you set in place– (4) what are people that you should think about them, mere mortals that you should care for them? (5) Yet you made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor. (6) You gave them charge of everything you made, putting all things under their authority– (7) the flocks and the herds and all the wild animals, (8) the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and everything that swims the ocean currents. (9) O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!

Psalms 8 begins and ends with praise to God by describing His position. Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! When we see texts like this creating an introduction and summation, we know every word in between must fit the theme. We are lower than God. There’s no question about that. Jesus chose to take a position to be like us, to be tempted like us, to experience pain, suffering, heat, cold, and heartache like us. And to be accused like us. How many court trials did Jesus face? Satan was there at all of them Review them for yourself. Were those trails fair?

The key words we needed to pay attention to in Hebrews 2 told us how we need to listen to the message announced by Jesus Himself. That’s the same theme recorded in Revelation 2. Zechariah 3 told us we should see what the symbol the high priest Jeshua pointed to. The most important point is to see the connection. Knowing the message is just as important as knowing where to get the information from.

Many of you have heard sermons or read other studies about the Branch mentioned in Zechariah 3. How deep did those lessons go? I can tell you one thing. Knowing that Branch represents Jesus will not get you very far. Knowing Jesus existed is not enough. Salvation requires more than knowing Jesus existed as a historical figure. You have to know Him and His Spirit. What is Jesus going to answer when Satan points out you don’t know Him? Is Jesus going to be able to introduce evidence of time you spent together, conversations you had, signs, wonders, and miracles Jesus performed in your prayer list you recognized and praised Him for? Have you acknowledged Jesus like David did in Psalm 8? Is your life putting evidence on Jesus’ side of the courtroom, or Satan’s?

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Psalms 8:5-6 Crowned with Glory and Honor

Posted by Ez1 Realty on March 28, 2017

PF PsalmsPsalms 8:5-6 KJ2000 For you have made him a little lower than the angels, and have crowned him with glory and honor. (6) You made him to have dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet:

This is a familiar prophecy about Jesus. This gives you the chance to reflect on your understanding of the texts before reading this study. Are you more familiar with the Old Testament or New Testament passage. What does it mean to make Christ a little lower than the angels? What does it mean for Jesus to have dominion or to have all things under His feet? This study is a good example of how one chapter expounds on another. It’s not by chance God introduced this lesson in a study of a text many people are familiar with. As easy as it may seem to locate the parallel New Testament texts, the key words contain another example of related words. Lower, dominion, and under are related in context. Recognizing the three related words makes searching easier.

PRM Front Cover Book 3 Kings Through Psalms 30Ephesians 1:19-22 NLTse (19) I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power (20) that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. (21) Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else–not only in this world but also in the world to come. (22) God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church.

The word under turns out to be the key word connecting it to Ephesians 1:19-22 where we also see the phrase, all things repeated. In his letter Paul prays, “ that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power.” Paul includes one example of God’s power. “This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.” Paul’s example not only tells us God has power to raise Jesus from the dead, but everyone. Paul also gives us a great sense of security knowing Jesus is, “at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.” Jesus has power and authority above every power on earth, the fulfillment of the prophecy recorded in Psalms 8:5-6. What other lessons are taught in these two parallel chapters? We find out by comparing the introductions and summations.

Psalms 8:1-4 NLTse O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens. (2) You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you. (3) When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers– the moon and the stars you set in place– (4) what are people that you should think about them, mere mortals that you should care for them?

We see David’s typical prayer style in Psalm 8. Notice how David begins his prayer by praising God? I noticed one thing missing from the Bible, instructions on how to praise God. We have God’s law. All the instructions on sacrifices. Jesus tells us how to pray, but no writer explains how to praise God. David’s Psalms are the best example. Notice how David often praises God at the beginning, middle, and end of his prayers. David will praise God, state his need, then praise God again by saying he knows God will do the right thing. Notice how David praises God. “Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens.” David provides a description of God. To add to that, David tells how God can use children to silence His enemies. David reminds us, the power is not in us, but in Him. I love the way David remembers God is the Creator. In this prayer, David makes it a point to include God’s compassion. “What are people that you should think about them, mere mortals that you should care for them? Now to compare David’s praise to Paul’s introduction in his letter to the Ephesians.

Ephesians 1:2-9 NLTse May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you and peace. (3) All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. (4) Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. (5) God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. (6) So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. (7) He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. (8) He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. (9) God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure.

Paul knows how David praised God. Paul begins his letter by reminding the Ephesians to praise God. Like David, Paul also praised God, because He is the creator. In His praise, Paul includes both God and His Son Jesus. Paul is establishing the theme of his letter, which is to ensure his readers, Jesus fulfilled His mission on earth and now reigns with God in Heaven. Paul also shows God’s compassion. “God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ.” There are so many parallels it would be difficult to cover them all. So far we have seen John describe the dominion David prophesied about. The works of God’s hands are His people. The dominion Jesus has is our praise. We see this when we compare the summations of the two chapters.

Psalms 8:6-9 NLTse You gave them charge of everything you made, putting all things under their authority— (7) the flocks and the herds and all the wild animals, (8) the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and everything that swims the ocean currents. (9) O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!

Ephesians 1:22-23 NLTse (22) God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. (23) And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.

When we consider David’s praise from his point of view, we see how he concentrates on God’s creation. The first thing David mentions is the flocks and herds he needs to feed his kingdom, and provide sacrifices to God. Of course those sacrifices all pointed to Jesus. Paul’s praise is based on seeing and understanding God’s plan of salvation. In essence, Paul is finishing David’s prayer by adding details David could not see. This is an important part of the Bible Study lesson. We’re shown how New Testament writers with increased light are able to share eye witness reports about Jesus’ ministry from the heart. Which is what studying in context will do for us. Each lesson you study on your own will bring new light to your eyes. “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!” (Matthew 6:19-23 NLTse). Jesus’ dominion is His Word. We praise Jesus and honor His dominion when we let Jesus’ Spirit walk us through a study by letting His Words lead us from one texts to another, one chapter to another. If you think you can take Jesus’ Spirit out of a study and use God’s Word to prove your thoughts, beliefs, and doctrines, your trying to mix light with darkness. In essence, your trying to serve two masters, your personal beliefs, and God’s Spirit.

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Solomon at the Tabernacle 2 Chronicles 1

Posted by Ez1 Realty on December 28, 2016


1 month after leaving Egypt, God spoke the 10 Commandments to Israel. They were all in favor thinking they could follow 10 simple rules. But a little while later when God offered to make them a kingdom of priests, they turned down the offer, and told Moses to talk to God and fill them in on the details.

God wrote the Commandments on stone Moses smashed when he saw how Israel was worshiping a false god. Moses chiseled out a new set of stones, took them to God, who wrote a new set of the Commandments on them. That set was placed inside the Ark.

The Ark was the center of the Tabernacle kept is a special room called the Most Holy. A cloud by day and pillar of fire guided them by night. The Ark and Tabernacle] were moved at God’s command.

Reaching the promised land, the Tabernacle was set up and the Ark settled in Shiloh. It remained in that location until Eli’s sons took the Ark into war against the Philistines. After a short stay with the Philistines, the Ark wound up in Gibeon. Somehow the Tabernacle was moved to Gibeon.

David tried to move the Ark from Gibeon to Jerusalem. The first attempt failed, costing Uzzah his life. On the second attempt, David had the Levites carry the Ark to Jerusalem.

2 Chronicles 1:1-6 NLTse (1) Solomon son of David took firm control of his kingdom, for the LORD his God was with him and made him very powerful. (2) Solomon called together all the leaders of Israel–the generals and captains of the army, the judges, and all the political and clan leaders. (3) Then he led the entire assembly to the place of worship in Gibeon, for God’s Tabernacle was located there. (This was the Tabernacle that Moses, the LORD’s servant, had made in the wilderness.) (4) David had already moved the Ark of God from Kiriath-jearim to the tent he had prepared for it in Jerusalem. (5) But the bronze altar made by Bezalel son of Uri and grandson of Hur was there at Gibeon in front of the Tabernacle of the LORD. So Solomon and the people gathered in front of it to consult the LORD. (6) There in front of the Tabernacle, Solomon went up to the bronze altar in the LORD’s presence and sacrificed 1,000 burnt offerings on it.

Here we see Solomon at the Tabernacle. The author pointed out, the Tabernacle was still in Gibeon, and the bronze alter built by Moses was still in the courtyard. David already moved the Ark to the tent he prepared in Jerusalem. But that about the other articles inside the Tabernacle courtyard and tent?

It seems rather strange when you think about it. What were the priests in Gibeon sacrificing to when the Ark was in Jerusalem? Once a year the high priest took blood into the Most Holy, and sprinkled it on the Ark. But how could they conduct that service if the Ark was in another city?

Aaron must take from the community of Israel two male goats for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. “Aaron will present his own bull as a sin offering to purify himself and his family, making them right with the LORD. Then he must take the two male goats and present them to the LORD at the entrance of the Tabernacle. He is to cast sacred lots to determine which goat will be reserved as an offering to the LORD and which will carry the sins of the people to the wilderness of Azazel. Aaron will then present as a sin offering the goat chosen by lot for the LORD. This is a permanent law for you, to purify the people of Israel from their sins, making them right with the LORD once each year.” Moses followed all these instructions exactly as the LORD had commanded him. (Leviticus 16: 5-9, 34 NLTse).

That was a rather obscure ceremony, but one of the most important. That ceremony pointed to one of the most important ministries Jesus conducted in the Heavenly Sanctuary. The event in the Heavenly Sanctuary is explained in the Book of Hebrews.

So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. With his own blood–not the blood of goats and calves–he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever. Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity. Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant. (Hebrews 9:11-15 NLTse).

Hebrews explained how Christ as High Priest ministers over all the good things to come. The once a year ceremony recorded by Moses pointed to a change in Heaven. Not a yearly change, but that yearly ceremony pointed to a one time event in Heaven. Hebrews explained why. The systems and symbols in the Tabernacle were conducted, maintained, understood, and explained by imperfect men. Few Christians look at or examine that ceremony in Leviticus chapter 16, or compare it to Hebrews chapter 9.

There was a particular time Jesus entered the Heavenly Sanctuary, to serve a particular purpose. The book of Hebrews explained why Christ entered the Heavenly Sanctuary. With his own blood–not the blood of goats and calves–he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever. What does that actually mean? When we think of Christ’s blood, what purpose does that blood serve? Most Christians agree, Christ shed His blood to forgive the sins of this world. Since Hebrews defined Christ’s entry into the Heavenly Sanctuary as a one time event, to secure our redemption, once and for all, we have to make sure we know what the word redemption means.

REDEMPTION G3085 λύτρωσις lutrōsis loo’-tro-sis

From G3084; a ransoming (figuratively): – + redeemed, redemption.

A ransom tells us a price had to be paid for our sins. That is pretty basic Christianity, but few people give it the thought and consideration it deserves. When we look at separating the Ark, and the law it contained from the sacrificial alter, giving it the consideration it deserves, we can’t help but see a light set upon mistakes Christianity made, and continues to make today. In modern Christianity, we have dozens of interpretations to Christ’s ministry in Heaven. We could go on for days listing all the modern day beliefs. As a whole, mankind has tried to turn the ransom Jesus paid into a cliché.

Is it right to separate the Ark, and the Law it contains from the sacrificial altar? Are we supposed to continue to follow that tradition, or modify it in an easier way to understand to make people feel good about themselves, and their religion? Or are we supposed to get back to the basics, look into the original plan, compare the symbols with the explanations provided in scripture, then determine what beliefs are man made substitutes, traditions, and doctrines? There has to be a system to determine exactly what God’s original plan was.

Many modern, wannabe prophets stick to so many details outside the spectrum of scripture, they wouldn’t know truth if it ran them over, walked into their church, or prayer meeting. What is this subject we are looking at? If Jesus’ ministry in Heaven is not recorded as prophecy, what is prophecy? But how many people today study it like a prophecy, or put as much time into prophecies about Jesus as they put into trying to guess what will happen tomorrow?

The fact of the matter is, Jesus’ ministry, here on earth, and in Heaven has been recorded as prophecy. According to the law of context, every recorded prophecy has a recorded fulfillment. To examine this concept of what I refer to as parallel chapters, we have to compare both introductions to verify both chapters are covering the same subject.

Leviticus 16:1-4 NLTse The LORD spoke to Moses after the death of Aaron’s two sons, who died after they entered the LORD’s presence and burned the wrong kind of fire before him. (2) The LORD said to Moses, “Warn your brother, Aaron, not to enter the Most Holy Place behind the inner curtain whenever he chooses; if he does, he will die. For the Ark’s cover–the place of atonement–is there, and I myself am present in the cloud above the atonement cover. (3) “When Aaron enters the sanctuary area, he must follow these instructions fully. He must bring a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. (4) He must put on his linen tunic and the linen undergarments worn next to his body. He must tie the linen sash around his waist and put the linen turban on his head. These are sacred garments, so he must bathe himself in water before he puts them on.

Hebrews 9:1-8 NLTse That first covenant between God and Israel had regulations for worship and a place of worship here on earth. (2) There were two rooms in that Tabernacle. In the first room were a lampstand, a table, and sacred loaves of bread on the table. This room was called the Holy Place. (3) Then there was a curtain, and behind the curtain was the second room called the Most Holy Place. (4) In that room were a gold incense altar and a wooden chest called the Ark of the Covenant, which was covered with gold on all sides. Inside the Ark were a gold jar containing manna, Aaron’s staff that sprouted leaves, and the stone tablets of the covenant. (5) Above the Ark were the cherubim of divine glory, whose wings stretched out over the Ark’s cover, the place of atonement. But we cannot explain these things in detail now. (6) When these things were all in place, the priests regularly entered the first room as they performed their religious duties. (7) But only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. And he always offered blood for his own sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. (8) By these regulations the Holy Spirit revealed that the entrance to the Most Holy Place was not freely open as long as the Tabernacle and the system it represented were still in use.

Comparing the two chapters confirms, both are covering the subject centered on entering the Most Holy compartment in the Tabernacle, and Heavenly Sanctuary. Inside the Most Holy room is where the Ark of the Covenant is located. The introductions to these two chapters confirms beyond any shadow of doubt, they are explaining the same subject.

To make certain we are looking at what I refer to as parallel chapters, we also compare summations, or the last few verses in the two chapters.

Leviticus 16:30-34 NLTse (30) On that day offerings of purification will be made for you, and you will be purified in the LORD’s presence from all your sins. (31) It will be a Sabbath day of complete rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. This is a permanent law for you. (32) In future generations, the purification ceremony will be performed by the priest who has been anointed and ordained to serve as high priest in place of his ancestor Aaron. He will put on the holy linen garments (33) and purify the Most Holy Place, the Tabernacle, the altar, the priests, and the entire congregation. (34) This is a permanent law for you, to purify the people of Israel from their sins, making them right with the LORD once each year.” Moses followed all these instructions exactly as the LORD had commanded him.

Hebrews 9:24-28 NLTse For Christ did not enter into a holy place made with human hands, which was only a copy of the true one in heaven. He entered into heaven itself to appear now before God on our behalf. (25) And he did not enter heaven to offer himself again and again, like the high priest here on earth who enters the Most Holy Place year after year with the blood of an animal. (26) If that had been necessary, Christ would have had to die again and again, ever since the world began. But now, once for all time, he has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice. (27) And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, (28) so also Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.

The summations verify, these two chapters are explaining the same subject. We now have a prophecy and its recorded fulfillment in our presence. Now what do we do with them? Another rule of context is perfectly consistent throughout scripture. When we locate and combine parallel chapters, that is to study them together, the information is not doubled, like common man would think, but multiplied by a much higher factor, magnified beyond what man could hope to achieve through uninspired thinking, teaching, and writing.

It does us little good to locate and identify parallel chapters if we don’t compare and study those chapters as a whole. Allow me to bring up an example of tradition and how it rears its ugly head in Christianity.

What are the most important days in Christianity? Most people would answer Christmas and Easter, which of course is the observance of Christ’s birthday here on earth, and His resurrection. As A child who hadn’t read a single verse in the Bible, I had to ask why people celebrate those two holidays by eating ham. Pigs are unclean animals. How do you honor Christ by consuming and unclean animal? Where did that tradition come from. From Satan of course.

What about that day Christ entered the MOST HOLY In Heaven? Why don’t we observe that day? Wouldn’t that day be as important as a birthday, or Jesus’ resurrection? What good would Jesus’ resurrection be if He didn’t eventually step into the presence of God’s Law in Heaven to cover that Law with His own blood?

The interesting thing is, Christians claim there is no way for us to know exactly what day Christ was born. We are assured of the exact date Christ rose from the grave. What about the day Christ entered the Most Holy Room in the Heavenly Sanctuary? Do we know that day, and is the information in the Bible confirming that date?

To find the exact day of Jesus’ resurrection, all we need to do is find the date Passover occurred on the Sabbath, and match it up with the list of kings recorded in scripture. That seems like a rather easy task. But how many people know how to go about verifying what we are told to believe?

Finding the exact date Jesus entered the Heavenly Sanctuary is a bit more involved. But it is in scripture. In the mid 1800’s William Miller and a handful of other people took on the task of conducting a chronological study of a series of dates and events that led to the day Jesus entered the Most Holy to cleanse the Heavenly Sanctuary foretold by the yearly ceremony recorded by Moses, and explained in Hebrews. You can read more about that study on your own. The only problem Miller had was, he looked at the cleansing of the earth, not the Sanctuary in Heaven. The date was correct, but his interpretation of what was cleansed was not correct.

That misinterpretation should have taught us a lesson. Not to allow one detail to slip through without proper verification. In Miller’s case, everyone involved forgot to compare scripture about the cleaning with the introduction of the chapter, that clearly identified the Heavenly Sanctuary.

Hebrews 10:36-39 NLTse Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. (37) For in just a little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. (38) And my righteous ones will live by faith. But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away.” (39) But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved.

My main intent is to explain a series of Bible Study methods so people can test any Bible Study over the past two thousand years. And to find the answer to the question raised in 2 Chronicles chapter 1, why the Ark was removed from the Tabernacle. The introduction of a book in scripture sets the theme for the entire book. This seems rather unusual for a book such as Chronicles to cover a subject like the separation of the Ark from the Tabernacle. But what is the main theme in 2 Chronicles? What happened in the temple from the reign of one king to another? How did they use the temple, and how did the temple vacillate from worship of God to a variety of Pagan gods? How did the removal of the Ark from the Tabernacle contribute to those changes, and how does that relate to Christianity today?

Looking at the introductions to Leviticus chapter 16 and Hebrews chapter 9, we’ll look at how the information is magnified. The first sentence in Leviticus 16 is a rather strange way to introduce a new subject. The LORD spoke to Moses after the death of Aaron’s two sons, who died after they entered the LORD’s presence and burned the wrong kind of fire before him. What does this tell us? On the physical level we see the loss of a good portion of the priesthood at that particular time. Why did two of Aaron’s sons loose their lives? The Bible tells us, they offered the wrong type of fire in the LORD’S presence. What does that fire represent? A smart Bible student allows the chapter at hand to answer every question on a symbol. That eliminates all human guess work.

In this case, we see how this chapter deals with the cleansing, or purification of the Tabernacle, in particular, the MOST HOLY room. Fire is used for purification in other stories in scripture, and fits in this story in no other way but to purify. The death of Aaron’s sons showed, the right type of fire provides the right purification. There must be a wrong type of fire, Since there is reality no difference in physical fires, other than fuel and temperature, the death of Aaron’s sons, and the fire involved must lead to a spiritual lesson.

Aaron, the high priest was warned not to enter the MOST HOLY any time he wished, but to follow a specific process once a year. It was a rather long, detailed ceremony Aaron had to follow. If he didn’t, Aaron, and all the high priests after him ran the risk of meeting the same fate his sons met with.

How does that apply to Jesus’ ministry in Heaven? Jesus had to follow a specific process to present Himself, and His blood. Jesus lived a sinless life on earth by following all of God’s laws. It makes sense for Jesus to continue that trend in Heaven.

The bull as usual was meant to remind Aaron of that golden calf, the false god he fabricated in the wilderness. The idea of that calf was borrowed from concepts and religious services learned in Egypt. That is another warning related to the lesson about the wrong type of fire offered in God’s presence. Bible authors have the habit of presenting the same lesson in a variety of ways.

The services Aaron performed were recorded in great detail. That detail included how the high priest was dressed. When we study the Sanctuary, and Christ’s ministry, we find Christ dressed in particular ways. Other authors went to great lengths to record specific details. Those details help us determine what phase of ministry the author is describing. Like outdoor scenes, we can understand the season of Christ’s ministry based on what Jesus is wearing.

Hebrews chapter 9 begins by explaining, one ministry passed away, and was replaced by a better, in fact perfect ministry. That tells us, mankind has little to nothing to do with that particular ministry, outside of sitting still and learning. Which may be the most difficult task for some people. When we compare that fact to warnings in Leviticus chapter 16, we see how serious this subject is.

Hebrews chapter 9 is constructed in a rather obscure fashion. The chapter as a whole described the Heavenly Sanctuary, but began by describing the Tabernacle Moses constructed. The author went into elaborate details about what the Ark contained. Are items once found in the Ark housed inside the Tabernacle now in Heaven? What does Aaron’s rod and the gold jar containing manna represent? Again, we will let the chapter explain their spiritual interpretations. We have to keep in mind, the author wrote, “we cannot explain these things in detail now.”

We have another detail to consider. By these regulations the Holy Spirit revealed that the entrance to the Most Holy Place was not freely open as long as the Tabernacle and the system it represented were still in use. What time frame does that point to? Since many of those details could not be understood until the New Testament was completed, we have to assume the author was not pointing to the time period when David removed the Ark from the Tabernacle.

One item in the Tabernacle was moved in the book of Hebrews. Place the incense altar just outside the inner curtain that shields the Ark of the Covenant, in front of the Ark’s cover–the place of atonement–that covers the tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant. I will meet with you there. “Every morning when Aaron maintains the lamps, he must burn fragrant incense on the altar. And each evening when he lights the lamps, he must again burn incense in the LORD’s presence. This must be done from generation to generation. Do not offer any unholy incense on this altar, or any burnt offerings, grain offerings, or liquid offerings. (Exodus 30:6-9 NLTse).

Originally, the incense alter was placed outside the curtain separating the Holy from the Most Holy room. When Jesus began His Ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary, the incense alter was placed inside the Most Holy room in the presence of God and the Ark. Why is that detail important?

This also emphasizes the point, prayers originate in Heaven. Most people teach, prayers originate on earth, and go up into Heaven. But where does that incense burnt in the altar in Heaven come from, Heaven or earth?

Looking at the summations, a few details jump out. The cleansing of the Tabernacle was a permanent law. Does that mean it ended, and we can forget all about it at some future date? Let’s get serious. The Tabernacle is gone. Its been gone for generations. No one knows what happened to it. All we have to study the Tabernacle is a handful of books Moses wrote, and of course the Book of Hebrews. At best, we have a dim view at what the Tabernacle actually looked like. We have a general concept if the design, but not enough technical information to recreate an exact replica. We also know the Tabernacle Moses build was an exact replica of the Heavenly Sanctuary he was shown in Heaven. Or at least the pattern God wanted Moses to build.

Hence all those warnings about strange fire, which is misrepresenting the Tabernacle, and Heavenly Sanctuary, point to misrepresenting the Heavenly Sanctuary.. We know how serious those warning are when we look at the most predominant word repeated at the end of Leviticus chapter 16, purification.

Take any example you can think of. If you have exact instructions to purify anything, a building, garment, or life, and skip a few steps in those instructions, do you have perfect purification? Based on the subject those two chapters cover, we know how serious the process of purification is.

There are two things purified in Heaven, the Sanctuary, and us from our sins. Both have to be perfectly purified. When we look at the purification of the Tabernacle as a permanent law, but we don’t have the Ark, or the Law, what is that pointing to? Go back to the incense altar which is now placed in the Most Holy room. The physical Tabernacle has moved from a physical to a spiritual level. We now moved from the passive role of observance, to an active role of observance by moving from the age when details could not be explained, to the age when we can, and should understand those symbols and their meaning. Purification also points to our understanding of the Heavenly Sanctuary. We can’t afford to teach false and misleading concepts about the Heavenly Sanctuary. That is the unholy fire we should never consider presenting before God.

The one a year ritual has been replaced by the single event when Christ entered the MOST HOLY compartment in Heaven. Christ didn’t have to keep returning to earth, suffering on the cross, dying, being resurrected again and again every time someone sinned. Hebrews explained exactly why Christ entered into the MOST HOLY in Heaven.

But now, once for all time, he has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice. And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.

There are four details associated with the word once at the close of Hebrews chapter 9. Christ appearing in the MOST HOLY compartment, offering His blood as a ransom payment for sins, people dying only once, and judgment. Each of those happens only once.

We have no choice but to consider each of those as a whole. We cannot allow ourselves to fall for misleading interpretations that separate one item, then offer man made interpretations. There is one time Christ will enter the MOST HOLY, one time He will offer His blood to cover the law for us, one time people will face death before the judgment, and one time we will all be judged. Jesus entered the MOST HOLY compartment in Heaven to begin the judgment process.

The Two Goats

Leviticus 16:5-10 NLTse (5) Aaron must take from the community of Israel two male goats for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. (6) “Aaron will present his own bull as a sin offering to purify himself and his family, making them right with the LORD. (7) Then he must take the two male goats and present them to the LORD at the entrance of the Tabernacle. (8) He is to cast sacred lots to determine which goat will be reserved as an offering to the LORD and which will carry the sins of the people to the wilderness of Azazel. (9) Aaron will then present as a sin offering the goat chosen by lot for the LORD. (10) The other goat, the scapegoat chosen by lot to be sent away, will be kept alive, standing before the LORD. When it is sent away to Azazel in the wilderness, the people will be purified and made right with the LORD.

Hebrews 9:9-15 NLTse This is an illustration pointing to the present time. For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them. (10) For that old system deals only with food and drink and various cleansing ceremonies–physical regulations that were in effect only until a better system could be established. (11) So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. (12) With his own blood–not the blood of goats and calves–he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever. (13) Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity. (14) Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. (15) That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant.

Aaron had to follow a precise order of sacrifices. A bull for him and his family. A ram as a burnt offering, and two male goats, which appears a little complicated. It may be difficult to understand until we look at Hebrews chapter 9. This is an illustration pointing to the present time. For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them.

The sacrifices, offerings, and services Aaron offered were an incomplete set of symbols pointing to Christ’s perfect ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary. Those goats were incomplete sacrifices, so it didn’t matter which was the sacrifice, and which was to carry sins into the wilderness. Those goats were only symbols. But God chose which goat filled which role, which shows us God’s involvement and presence in the ceremony, as well as any study into this subject.

Hebrews tells us about a New Covenant, a more perfect Covenant under Christ that will remove sins, for all time, something none of those animals could do. Since only one goat shed blood, who would that goat point to? The answer is explained in Hebrews. Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God.

If the one goat represented Christ, and the blood He shed, what does the other goat represent? The second goat was sent to a physical wilderness. Who was banished to a spiritual wilderness? Christ was sent to the wilderness in one story. Who did Jesus meet there? Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. (Matthew 4:1 NLTse). Is this the answer, or another clue? What does the devil have to do with the purification of the Heavenly Sanctuary? Where did sin originate?

Then there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels. And the dragon lost the battle, and he and his angels were forced out of heaven. This great dragon–the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world–was thrown down to the earth with all his angels. (Revelation 12:7-9 NLTse).

For war to be in Heaven, there must have been trouble that lead up to it. Satan was cast out of Heaven, so he must have been in Heaven before he was banished to this world. The Heavenly Sanctuary has to be purified of all the traces Satan left behind. What better way to clean those sins Satan established in Heaven than the blood of Christ, the One who defeated Satan, and threw him out of Heaven.

Previous verses in Revelation 12 identified that wilderness. Then I witnessed in heaven another significant event. I saw a large red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, with seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept away one-third of the stars in the sky, and he threw them to the earth. He stood in front of the woman as she was about to give birth, ready to devour her baby as soon as it was born. She gave birth to a son who was to rule all nations with an iron rod. And her child was snatched away from the dragon and was caught up to God and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where God had prepared a place to care for her for 1,260 days. (Revelation 12:3-6 NLTse). The spiritual wilderness is this world.

When will Satan be banished to that wilderness? Looking at that goat sent to the wilderness, sins were laid upon its head. When can sin be laid on Satan? Not until the trial is completed, Satan is found guilty, and of course all the sins Satan has to carry have been judged.

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven with the key to the bottomless pit and a heavy chain in his hand. He seized the dragon–that old serpent, who is the devil, Satan–and bound him in chains for a thousand years. The angel threw him into the bottomless pit, which he then shut and locked so Satan could not deceive the nations anymore until the thousand years were finished. Afterward he must be released for a little while. (Revelation 20:1-3 NLTse).

The word, then, tells us to look back at the previous event. Then I saw the beast and the kings of the world and their armies gathered together to fight against the one sitting on the horse and his army. And the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who did mighty miracles on behalf of the beast–miracles that deceived all who had accepted the mark of the beast and who worshiped his statue. Both the beast and his false prophet were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. Their entire army was killed by the sharp sword that came from the mouth of the one riding the white horse. And the vultures all gorged themselves on the dead bodies. (Revelation 19:19-21 NLTse).

The beast and all the people who followed him are slain. The world is not yet purified, but is burnt by a lake of fire. Satan is bound by an angel in the bottomless pit, the wilderness, this world, all alone for a thousand years to carry the weight of all the sins placed upon his head. Satan is the second goat banished to the wilderness.

Leviticus 16:11-19 NLTse (11) “Aaron will present his own bull as a sin offering to purify himself and his family, making them right with the LORD. After he has slaughtered the bull as a sin offering, (12) he will fill an incense burner with burning coals from the altar that stands before the LORD. Then he will take two handfuls of fragrant powdered incense and will carry the burner and the incense behind the inner curtain. (13) There in the LORD’s presence he will put the incense on the burning coals so that a cloud of incense will rise over the Ark’s cover–the place of atonement–that rests on the Ark of the Covenant. If he follows these instructions, he will not die. (14) Then he must take some of the blood of the bull, dip his finger in it, and sprinkle it on the east side of the atonement cover. He must sprinkle blood seven times with his finger in front of the atonement cover. (15) “Then Aaron must slaughter the first goat as a sin offering for the people and carry its blood behind the inner curtain. There he will sprinkle the goat’s blood over the atonement cover and in front of it, just as he did with the bull’s blood. (16) Through this process, he will purify the Most Holy Place, and he will do the same for the entire Tabernacle, because of the defiling sin and rebellion of the Israelites. (17) No one else is allowed inside the Tabernacle when Aaron enters it for the purification ceremony in the Most Holy Place. No one may enter until he comes out again after purifying himself, his family, and all the congregation of Israel, making them right with the LORD. (18) “Then Aaron will come out to purify the altar that stands before the LORD. He will do this by taking some of the blood from the bull and the goat and putting it on each of the horns of the altar. (19) Then he must sprinkle the blood with his finger seven times over the altar. In this way, he will cleanse it from Israel’s defilement and make it holy.

Hebrews 9:16-23 NLTse Now when someone leaves a will, it is necessary to prove that the person who made it is dead. (17) The will goes into effect only after the person’s death. While the person who made it is still alive, the will cannot be put into effect. (18) That is why even the first covenant was put into effect with the blood of an animal. (19) For after Moses had read each of God’s commandments to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, along with water, and sprinkled both the book of God’s law and all the people, using hyssop branches and scarlet wool. (20) Then he said, “This blood confirms the covenant God has made with you.” (21) And in the same way, he sprinkled blood on the Tabernacle and on everything used for worship. (22) In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness. (23) That is why the Tabernacle and everything in it, which were copies of things in heaven, had to be purified by the blood of animals. But the real things in heaven had to be purified with far better sacrifices than the blood of animals.

Leviticus 16:20-31 NLTse (20) “When Aaron has finished purifying the Most Holy Place and the Tabernacle and the altar, he must present the live goat. (21) He will lay both of his hands on the goat’s head and confess over it all the wickedness, rebellion, and sins of the people of Israel. In this way, he will transfer the people’s sins to the head of the goat. Then a man specially chosen for the task will drive the goat into the wilderness. (22) As the goat goes into the wilderness, it will carry all the people’s sins upon itself into a desolate land. (23) “When Aaron goes back into the Tabernacle, he must take off the linen garments he was wearing when he entered the Most Holy Place, and he must leave the garments there. (24) Then he must bathe himself with water in a sacred place, put on his regular garments, and go out to sacrifice a burnt offering for himself and a burnt offering for the people. Through this process, he will purify himself and the people, making them right with the LORD. (25) He must then burn all the fat of the sin offering on the altar. (26) “The man chosen to drive the scapegoat into the wilderness of Azazel must wash his clothes and bathe himself in water. Then he may return to the camp. (27) “The bull and the goat presented as sin offerings, whose blood Aaron takes into the Most Holy Place for the purification ceremony, will be carried outside the camp. The animals’ hides, internal organs, and dung are all to be burned. (28) The man who burns them must wash his clothes and bathe himself in water before returning to the camp. (29) “On the tenth day of the appointed month in early autumn, you must deny yourselves. Neither native-born Israelites nor foreigners living among you may do any kind of work. This is a permanent law for you. (30) On that day offerings of purification will be made for you, and you will be purified in the LORD’s presence from all your sins. (31) It will be a Sabbath day of complete rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. This is a permanent law for you.

When we look at the actual ceremony, it is a little difficult to understand how Hebrews explained the role of the scapegoat taken into the wilderness. That is because Hebrews deals with Christ’s ministry in Heaven. The devils role is discussed in other books.

We also have a certain amount of repetition to deal with, like the bull Aaron sacrificed for his sins. God didn’t want us to forget Aaron was human, and the ceremonies he performed did nothing to forgive sins. Then Moses explained the incense burner. In a sense, we have to offer something to God before we can understand. Time is one sacrifice. What we know before we study is another.

Aaron was to offer incense before sacrificing the goat. That shows us how the message or announcement when Jesus enters the Heavenly Sanctuary will be known before it occurs. After the announcement, Jesus begins the purification process. With God, timing is everything.

Hebrews talked about a will, a last will and testimony to call attention to the first covenant. In this case, the sacrificial system. The physical system in the Tabernacle was a set of symbols pointing to Christ and different phases of His ministry. That covenant was sealed in blood, a symbol showing how Jesus would fulfill His part of the contract.

Few people think about Jesus’ blood purifying the Heavenly Sanctuary. Most Christians restrict their thoughts to Jesus’ blood purifying themselves. That is a rather narrow view of a system explained in a number of books from one end of the Bible to another.

After Aaron purified the Tabernacle, he turned his attention on the live goat. Aaron placed both of his hands on the goat’s head and confessed over it all the wickedness, rebellion, and sins of the people of Israel. Of course Israel is another symbol pointing to all of Jesus followers. The man chose to take the goat out of the camp into the wilderness represented the strong angel who takes hold of Satan, throwing him into a symbolic bottomless pit. Whatever filth the angel picks up from Satan must be cleaned before he returns to Heaven.

Studying this subject is so important, God called it a Sabbath, a rest. Not only are we supposed to dedicate serious time to the subject, we are supposed to look at the rest and comfort the lessons bring. Jesus has the blood to cleanse the Sanctuary as well as cover the Law and our sins. People can and will get a little flustered, or worried when they only have a narrow view of the purification and judgment process.

This is only a brief explanation of the overall subject. Just enough to look at the question, what was the effect when David took the Ark away from the Tabernacle? For one thing, the high priest was no longer able to purify the entire Tabernacle. In essence, the Ark, and the Law it contained went uncovered for generations. Where does that place us is our understanding of the process? Exactly were we see the world today, lacking understanding, and interest in Jesus’ ministry in Heaven. Attention is refocused on other, more modern stone temples, new traditions, modified sacrificial systems, and everywhere but where our attention belongs. The question now has to be, how do we refocus our attention?

God Met with Solomon

2 Chronicles 1:7-12 NLTse (7) That night God appeared to Solomon and said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!” (8) Solomon replied to God, “You showed faithful love to David, my father, and now you have made me king in his place. (9) O LORD God, please continue to keep your promise to David my father, for you have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth! (10) Give me the wisdom and knowledge to lead them properly, for who could possibly govern this great people of yours?” (11) God said to Solomon, “Because your greatest desire is to help your people, and you did not ask for wealth, riches, fame, or even the death of your enemies or a long life, but rather you asked for wisdom and knowledge to properly govern my people– (12) I will certainly give you the wisdom and knowledge you requested. But I will also give you wealth, riches, and fame such as no other king has had before you or will ever have in the future!”

The answer is obvious when we follow scripture. How are we supposed to know and understand the full effect of separating the Ark from the Tabernacle unless we meet with God. Solomon had to meet with God to understand how to run a limited kingdom for a limited amount of time. We are studying to learn about eternity.

Solomon had a problem, and met with God. Or shall we say, God met with Solomon. Of course we don’t have to offer a thousand sacrifices for God to talk to us. All we need to do is learn to listen. When we do learn to listen to God, how would you like to hear God ask, “what do you want?”

That is an unusual question to ask from a God who knows everything about all of us. Of course God knew exactly what Solomon wanted. God still needed to hear it. Just like an everyday father. God added another part to the message. “Ask, and I will give it to you!” How would you like that kind of communication with God? Is it that far away?

Solomon had to remind God about the love and affection He showed David. Then Solomon got to the point. He admitted he was not as strong as his father David. Solomon admitted he needed help. This tells us about the life Solomon led as a prince in the palace. Of course David’s sons had the best education the kingdom could afford. Solomon and his brothers had tutors, maids, people cooking for them, cleaning up after them, and servants galore, More than we could ever imagine. That may seem fine to some people, but that type of life style leaves holes in places we don’t take time to consider holes in their character.

When people are brought up with someone, or armies of people doing everything for them, they develop a lack of experience. The experience they need to make decisions on their feet. A lack of experience that makes them dependent on people around them to supply their every need and desire. That results in a very poor, or nonexistent prayer life with God, The usual prayer life of, thank you God for everything I have…. bless so and so, and that is about as deep as they go.

Trials build character. Confrontations build character. Attacks build character. Designing and building parts and structures builds characters. Working with your hands, and with people builds character, and helps to gain respect from the people you work with. Learning trades and skills builds the ability to teach others. A simple life builds dependence.

Solomon led a life of luxury and security. No one really challenged Solomon. No one picked fights with Solomon. Of course there was competition between him and his half brothers. Scripture confirmed that. But whenever quarrels broke out, someone stepped in to calm the situation. That didn’t do anything for Solomon to build problem solving skills required to lead a nation.

I recently had a conversation about a pastor leaving a church. He didn’t feel he was receiving the support he needed. Members left all the work up to the pastor, who had a fire for evangelism, but without proper support, and time wasted on all that paperwork, reports, and energy required to keep a physical church running, not to mention mentoring members and listening to all their little day to day problems, and the real trials that creep into their lives, the pastor was not able to pursue his personal ministry. The church let him down, leaving him feel like he had a huge hole in his life.

That situation indicates a number of issues. First, the members felt like a pastor played the role of a servant catering to their needs. In a way, they wanted a life like Solomon led, but couldn’t see how that was detrimental to their character. Church members wanted a man to do all the little tasks making it appear they were playing church.

That situation also showed how ill prepared pastors are after graduating with a pastoral degree. They are not prepared it taught how to build character in people. Pastors are not trained to recognize character flaws, or how to pray about them, in other words, listen to God about how to challenge those character flaws, or point them out in a Christlike manner. Pastors are not trained how to listen to God to know when to dive into a situation, or draw back. Pastors want to solve problems, not identify how God is building character through those situations. At times, pastors are working contrary to God’s plan, and don’t even know it.

Based on my experience with churches, pray and God’s Spirit are essential to any development. Pastors need to pray God places the right people around them. It takes the right leaders to build a church. Everyone HAS to be on the same page when it comes to who is really in charge of the church. That is Christ. That requires a lot of prayer and listening. Time to make decisions may be the best asset church leaders have. The first thing they need to develop is a willingness to spend time to solve problems, and make decisions. Too often, one or two people on a church board with an attitude, they can instantly solve each and every problem will tip, and sink the boat.

That pastor had to learn how to run a church. Solomon had to learn how to run a kingdom. And had to learn quickly. Solomon had another problem David never faced. Solomon had a mother who watched him like a hawk, and dedicated her life to grooming him for the throne. But what did Bathsheba know about running a kingdom? She instigated a plan to get her husband killed, all to gain more glory and power. She wasn’t about to let that power go. That was all she knew about fighting. Her husband Uriah was the warrior. That didn’t make her the type of leader Israel needed. Bathsheba had little to hand down to her son.

David had the advantage of growing up in an environment where he really needed God. At times his life depended on God’s full power, and David’s total faith. David was also a warrior, commander, and general. He learned how to rely on people, give orders, and during his life, depend on God in crucial times. Solomon was never placed in situations David lived through. Solomon heard the stories, then suddenly reality slapped him in the face. One day Solomon was a boy listening to those stories of honor and conquest. The next day Solomon was the man everyone looked up to and was about to depend on. That scared the life out of Solomon. He knew he couldn’t depend on his mother to make all the decisions for him. Solomon was smart enough to see through that masquerade. But that didn’t give Solomon the knowledge and wisdom he needed to run his father’s kingdom. What else was Solomon going to ask for?

God knew Solomon well, just like He knows all of us. Along with that knowledge and wisdom would come security for the kingdom Solomon inherited. With the right kind of knowledge and wisdom, the wealth and riches that came with the throne would increase. That would also grow his fame.

Solomon Turned to Egypt

2 Chronicles 1:13-17 NLTse (13) Then Solomon returned to Jerusalem from the Tabernacle at the place of worship in Gibeon, and he reigned over Israel. (14) Solomon built up a huge force of chariots and horses. He had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horses. He stationed some of them in the chariot cities and some near him in Jerusalem. (15) The king made silver and gold as plentiful in Jerusalem as stone. And valuable cedar timber was as common as the sycamore-fig trees that grow in the foothills of Judah. (16) Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and from Cilicia; the king’s traders acquired them from Cilicia at the standard price. (17) At that time chariots from Egypt could be purchased for 600 pieces of silver, and horses for 150 pieces of silver. They were then exported to the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Aram.

The author pointed out the fact, Solomon left the Tabernacle in Gibeon and returned to Jerusalem. The introduction and summation of this chapter are like bookends with Solomon receiving knowledge and wisdom in the middle. The introduction and summation reminded us, the Ark was separated from the Tabernacle. What about that yearly purification ceremony? How was the high priest ever going to complete that ceremony with the Ark missing?

When we look at the end of this chapter, we see what Solomon used his wealth and riches for. Solomon went to Egypt to build up his military strength. Why? Solomon had the Ark sitting outside his front door. What did he need Egyptians chariots and horses for?

Building up military power reminds us about how people build up arguments when they separate parts of the Tabernacle, and don’t look at the design and all its symbols as a whole. When people concentrate on the sacrificial altar, they build up excuses to ignore the Ark, and the law it contains. When people concentrate on prayers, associated with the incense alter, they down play the sacrificial system to one or two essential details. Some people look at colors used in the Tabernacle, but neglect to examine the support pillars and bases. There are other parts of the Tabernacle few people pay attention to. We tend to emphasize the symbols we know, or have been told about, and like a warrior, fight off anything that doesn’t fit into the sections we feel comfortable with. Just ask yourself, what may have happened if Solomon took the Ark back to the Tabernacle and made it whole? Better yet, have a nice long conversation with Jesus about it.

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David and the Ark

Posted by Ez1 Realty on November 26, 2016

David Finds How to Carry the Ark

1 Chronicles 15:11-15 NLTse (11) Then David summoned the priests, Zadok and Abiathar, and these Levite leaders: Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab. (12) He said to them, “You are the leaders of the Levite families. You must purify yourselves and all your fellow Levites, so you can bring the Ark of the LORD, the God of Israel, to the place I have prepared for it. (13) Because you Levites did not carry the Ark the first time, the anger of the LORD our God burst out against us. We failed to ask God how to move it properly.” (14) So the priests and the Levites purified themselves in order to bring the Ark of the LORD, the God of Israel, to Jerusalem. (15) Then the Levites carried the Ark of God on their shoulders with its carrying poles, just as the LORD had instructed Moses.

There is no doubt who ordered the Ark’s next move. The author repeated that detail to draw our attention to the fact, David gave the order. There was no account of the pillar of fire, or the cloud leading the way. No one recorded any command from God. No prophet showed up to tell David to move the Ark. It appears moving the Ark to Jerusalem was David’s idea.

We have to keep this in order. There was a two step process to move the Ark inside the temple. Solomon built the temple, then moved the Ark from David’s tent into the temple. There is also a two step process recorded here. David only moved the Ark so far on his first attempt. David went to Baalah of Judah to bring the Ark to Jerusalem on a new cart. Uzzah touched the Ark and died. David left the Ark at the house of Obed-edom of in Gath, where the Ark remained for three months. During that time King Hiram of Tyre sent messengers to David, along with cedar timber, and stonemasons and carpenters to build a palace. And David realized that the LORD had confirmed him as king over Israel and had greatly blessed his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel. Then David married more wives in Jerusalem, and they had more sons and daughters. (1 Chronicles 14:1-3 NLTse).

While David waited to move the Ark into his tent in Jerusalem, a number of things happened. David started a number of building projects. David married more women, and king Hiram sent messages and materials to David.

At that time Tyre was the major port and trade city of the Middle East. Tyre was the trading capital of the world. If David could reach Hiram and tell him about God, who knows what doors could have been opened? What about those wives David married? With so many wives, how was David going to be the priest of his family? Every time David married another woman, and had more children, his effectiveness as the priest in the family diminished. We have a spiritual clue to that part of the story when the author told us where God decided to stop the Ark. But when they arrived at the threshing floor of Nacon, the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the Ark. (1 Chronicles 13:9 NLTse). A threshing floor has a spiritual connection to harvesting this world.

We can’t go too far into interpreting symbols in this story, but we can consider how those symbols draw us deeper into small details used to tell the story. A proper study on this subject would include gathering all the parts of this story scattered in other books in the Bible. Here we are only taking a quick look at an overview of this story and how it relates to the temple, and reflects back on the Tabernacle.

If we were to look at all the times the Ark was moved, we would find out how God told Moses to follow a specific process. The fact Moses recorded that process shows, Moses spoke with God before moving the Ark, and every time the Ark was moved, it was at God’s command. David had to find that process before he built up enough courage to attempt a second move.

Collecting all the data on the Ark’s moves would lead us to Solomon’s dedication of the temple. We know the Ark was eventually moved inside the stone temple. The end of 2 Kings showed how Babylon invaded Israel, then took all the items out of the temple, and eventually burnt it down. How much did the Ark protect the temple? The Ark didn’t even protect the Tabernacle. No one knows what happened to the Tabernacle. Eventually the Ark wound up missing. Everything was gone. Only the descriptions recorded by Moses survived. We have to ask why.

It seems every book I’ve read on the Tabernacle include the temple, weaving them together in a way that made them appear as one of the same. Other books neglected to look at the process, one followed the other. They also applied the designs of one to the other, assuming the people who built the temple looked at, and possibly followed plans Moses recorded. But the Bible doesn’t contain any evidence to support such theories.

We do find a strange mixture of customs included in the design of the temple, as well as many articles in the courtyard. Some of those items had close ties with Egypt, the land Solomon’s first wife was from.

Here we are studying the order information was recorded, and how those stories are related. Why did God record those stories in the order we find them in scripture today? The conquest of Jerusalem with the temple treasures carried to Babylon, followed by a short mention of Solomon’s connection to the temple, then the priests returning from Babylon to Jerusalem, and finally, David moving the Ark to Jerusalem. This is a strange order. One we need a lot of time to examine.

At least we learned one thing from the order of those events. We learned how scripture sends us to other books with a little different view of the events. We learned how scripture teaches us how to study scripture in a way many people miss, or don’t want to pay attention to. Like David, they want to find an easier way to study. Wasn’t moving the Ark with a cart and oxen easier than carrying it? Wasn’t a new cart pointing to a new and easier way of studying scripture we often hear people boast about? Symbols can be very useful in studying scripture, but they will never be a substitute for God’s Spirit. We can’t say, this symbol means this, or that symbol tells us that, without spending a lot of time on those stories, and time at the foot of God’s throne.

We know someone had to look back in scripture to find the answer David needed. Isn’t that a clue telling us what the spiritual meaning of this story is, or at least a part of it? What kind of students would we be if we only wanted to look at parts of the story that interested us? Wouldn’t we be as self centered as the author told us David was?

What do we get when we look at David ordering the priests to purify themselves? What about David? What did he do to purify himself? Was David’s job complete when he pitched a new tent in Jerusalem for the Ark? Did David really pitch that tent, or did he command other people to do it for him?

We see a series of events containing questions we can now look in the mirror to ask ourselves, do I do the same thing? Do I come up with ideas to serve God, then tell other people what to do instead of setting the example they need? In a way it seems David was a little unsure about his plan. Instead of taking chances, he put other people in charge, giving them the responsibility in case anything went wrong, but having a door open to take all the credit in case everything worked out okay. Is that a plan you tend to follow?

What about looking in the mirror to see if you were the one to study a subject, or did you plan on having other people open scripture, find the answer, then fill you in on major details? If that your preferred method of studying scripture? This story is full of tough questions to ask yourself.

What about telling the priests to purify themselves? Look in the mirror and ask yourself if you do the same thing. Do you expect people to purify themselves, break habits, eat, drink, dress, and worship in a certain way while you take an easier path in life? Do you think you purified yourself by telling other people what to do, while you have no idea what God needs to work on in your life? Is that imagine in the mirror complete before you take your own brand of purification out to the world?

For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. (James 1:23-27 NLTse).

Too often we forget the all important steps in Bible Study. Look at the physical aspects of the story. Learn to pray about the story, giving the Spirit time to sit down and teach you aspects you never understood or saw before. Gather all the information on the subject, such as other accounts of the story in scripture. Look at the events leading into the story as well as the results in later chapters. Once you see the physical aspects, look at how those details apply to your life. Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions. Make a list of what questions to ask. A close connection with God’s Spirit is vital at this stage. He will know how to point out conditions in your life you never knew existed. When you think you’re ready to take a message out to the world, wait. Don’t jump the gun. The personal message God gave to you is not a one size fits all, this will fix the world’s problems type of message. Don’t take a personal message, tinker with it a little bit, then think you have something new. God’s message is like a glass ornament. You start hammering on it, and it has no choice but to break.

The author told us David asked one question, how to carry the Ark. Nothing about when or where to carry the Ark. That looks a little like the laws of the prophets where a prophet has to tell people how they talked to God, what the message was, and often where and when. Where do we get when asking only part, of a question, other than part of the answer? This is another issue to take to that mirror.

The priests took orders from David. It seems the priests carried out those orders without question. That brings up another question to ask yourself. Do you accept information, or orders from people without questioning if that was their role, what authority they have, or where their information came from?

It seems the deeper we look into any story, the more questions are presented. That’s how the Spirit works. Most of the questions center around self examination. You have to work with the Spirit to find those questions, and continue to work with the Spirit to find the answers. That’s just how the Spirit works. When Bible Study is nothing more than gathering material to support a preconceived answer, that is not really Bible Study. Using the Bible to produce evidence to support man made ideas is a lot like moving the Ark without God’s permission. What little is taken out of scripture and placed into made made concepts is like taking the Ark out of the environment God designed, then trying to figure out what the Ark really represents.

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The Items Inside the Tabernacle

Posted by Ez1 Realty on November 22, 2016

Chapter 10 The Items Inside the Tabernacle

Exodus 37:1-9 NLTse Next Bezalel made the Ark of acacia wood–a sacred chest 45 inches long, 27 inches wide, and 27 inches high. (2) He overlaid it inside and outside with pure gold, and he ran a molding of gold all around it. (3) He cast four gold rings and attached them to its four feet, two rings on each side. (4) Then he made poles from acacia wood and overlaid them with gold. (5) He inserted the poles into the rings at the sides of the Ark to carry it. (6) Then he made the Ark’s cover–the place of atonement–from pure gold. It was 45 inches long and 27 inches wide. (7) He made two cherubim from hammered gold and placed them on the two ends of the atonement cover. (8) He molded the cherubim on each end of the atonement cover, making it all of one piece of gold. (9) The cherubim faced each other and looked down on the atonement cover. With their wings spread above it, they protected it.

After passing by a number of texts telling us, Bezalel build this item and that item, and how he had help, I had to sit down and pray about this one. Why did Moses repeat details about the Tabernacle? There had to be a reason. A spiritual reason.

I had to pray about that for more than a week. Here is the lesson. We have to wait for the right time for God to answer. What better time to explain this detail than while we are looking at the description of the Ark. How much more personal and direct could this be? The answer was so simple and surprising.

To understand, all we need to do is compare the two events Moses recorded and look at the differences. We’ve already seen the similarities in a previous chapter. Now it’s time to look at the differences.

The first time, God explained all the details to Moses while he was on God’s mountain. God personally explained all the details to Moses who recorded them exactly as he was directed. This brings to mind a few verses in Isaiah. In the last days, the mountain of the LORD’s house will be the highest of all– the most important place on earth. It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship. People from many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” For the LORD’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:2-3 NLTse).

Isiah told us people will go to God’s mountain to learn. They will tell more people to go to God’s mountain to learn. Moses explained this process when he recorded details in the Tabernacle the second time.

Moses wrote five books, Exodus is one of them. Exodus consists of forty chapters. Not a very long book at all. But Moses used a number of chapters to record details about the Tabernacle then repeated those details. Moses is not wasting his time or valuable space in his short book. Moses is revealing valuable spiritual lessons.

The second time Moses recorded details in the Tabernacle, he began by telling us how all the people were touched by God’s Spirit. They gave more material than what was required, and volunteered to work on the Tabernacle. But Moses only recorded one name, Bezalel, and kept repeating his name over and over. We know this is not God’s usual style of communicating with us. It’s rare to see God give credit to one person. When we see something unusual, it is time to pay attention.

Moses focused on an individual and repeated that detail more than enough times to catch our attention. God also explained all the details and how each item was constructed to an individual, Moses. God set up something for us to consider. Are we going to look at the Tabernacle like a tour group, quickly passing by only observing the overall plan, view, and understanding of each item, restricted by one person’s brief explanation of each item and the overall view of the design? Or are we going to take time to learn about and view each item like Bezalel?

We have to look back at what we’ve been told about Bezalel. Then Moses told the people of Israel, “The LORD has specifically chosen Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. The LORD has filled Bezalel with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts. He is a master craftsman, expert in working with gold, silver, and bronze. He is skilled in engraving and mounting gemstones and in carving wood. He is a master at every craft. And the LORD has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach their skills to others. The LORD has given them special skills as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple, and scarlet thread on fine linen cloth, and weavers. They excel as craftsmen and as designers. (Exodus 35:30-35 NLTse).

We remember how God gave Bezalel all the gifts he needed to complete the project. Bezalel was given skills to do all the work involved. He was also given skills to teach people. Bezalel also was given wisdom to understand the design. Those are some of the most important features of a true follower of God.

What good is it to collect a bunch of information from God but not be able to teach it? What good is it to have a really great relationship with God if you can’t explain the process, God’s original plan or design? Those are attributes showing the difference between a godly person and a wannabe leader. The real thing will be like Bezalel. They will not only be given skills to complete the project, God will make them complete by providing skills to understand the process and explain it to people.

There is a world of difference between looking at a concept of the Ark and understanding how each piece is fabricated and assembled. The same is true on a spiritual basis. Seeing only a overall spiritual view of the Ark is not at all like understanding details each piece represents and how they all fit together. Can we explain them now? Not at this point in this study. We can only look back and not much information was given to tell us what each piece represented. We have to be satisfied with what we’ve been given so far.

The main point is, learning those details is a personal experience with God. Jesus covered that concept when He promised to teach His disciples how to understand scripture. Then Jesus asked them, “Would anyone light a lamp and then put it under a basket or under a bed? Of course not! A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light will shine. For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” Then he added, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given–and you will receive even more. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.” (Mark 4:21-25 NLTse).

We see Jesus taught the same process. There isn’t a lot of understanding in a quick explanation and overall view. Understanding has a process you have to follow. What you do with that understanding or information is the key. Jesus told us, we’ll see all kinds of information like this lesson about Bezalel and his relationship with the Tabernacle. This information is available to everyone willing to listen. Now here is the key. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given–and you will receive even more. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given.

Do you see how Bezalel is a good example and how his example works with Jesus’ explanation of understanding? What would have happened if Bezalel received all those gifts, skills, and information from God, but didn’t teach and explain it to people? Then why does modern Christianity make a living from providing limited, overall views on subjects, and have no idea how to explain the details, or teach skills to get there. I am referring to the personal experience with God we all should have and share.

If Moses received a view and explanation of all those details on God’s mountain, God had to deliver that information to Bezalel in much the same way. Moses represented God’s physical mountain. Bezalel represented God’s spiritual mountain. Now we understand all those specific orders God gave to allow only people He called up to the physical mountain to approach. They were physical witnesses to His physical mountain that pointed to God’s spiritual mountain. It’s not by accident God spoke His law from that physical mountain and reveled this information at this time, at the description of the Ark. There is a connection to understanding, teaching, seeing details in the design, and God’s law.

It would be redundant to go over the same details in previous chapters. Moses did a good job of repeating details of all the items in the Tabernacle and we’ve seen one of the reasons why. We have to keep in mind, God is still in a state of mind, He wanted to reject Israel because they decided to make their own religion rather than follow Him. That’s a problem we still see today.

I have no idea what level your at or where you are in your walk with God. Since we’ve been shown the learning process is a personal matter between you and God, we have to accept that for what it is. We’ve been shown a number of attributes Moses taught about the priesthood that serves God. All of these details come together like the items in the Tabernacle. Each of them serve a specific purpose as well as reveal portions of God’s personality. Learning those details is not much different that learning about a person during dating stages. After all, that is the goal, to develop a personal relationship with God. You would never trust anyone to tell you details about the person your dating. Why would you trust anyone to give you details about the God offering you eternal life and His Son willing to forgive your sins?

Posted in Bible Study Methods Explained, Christian Books, Simple Studies, Tabernacle | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Aaron’s Calf

Posted by Ez1 Realty on November 22, 2016

Chapter 5 Aaron’s Calf

Moses Comes Down From the Mountain

Exodus 32:1-5 NLTse When the people saw how long it was taking Moses to come back down the mountain, they gathered around Aaron. “Come on,” they said, “make us some gods who can lead us. We don’t know what happened to this fellow Moses, who brought us here from the land of Egypt.” (2) So Aaron said, “Take the gold rings from the ears of your wives and sons and daughters, and bring them to me.” (3) All the people took the gold rings from their ears and brought them to Aaron. (4) Then Aaron took the gold, melted it down, and molded it into the shape of a calf. When the people saw it, they exclaimed, “O Israel, these are the gods who brought you out of the land of Egypt!” (5) Aaron saw how excited the people were, so he built an altar in front of the calf. Then he announced, “Tomorrow will be a festival to the LORD!”

Now we can begin to see why Aaron was told to sacrifice a bull at the entrance of the Tabernacle to atone for himself and his sons. God used the symbol of a bull to show who had power over what. God gave Adam authority over all the beasts of the field. Priests like those in Egypt gave that authority to the beasts by making idols out of them. It was much like what God did in Egypt when Egyptian priests turned water into blood. Aaron had to show the people he created that false god and he was the one in control. Not that golden calf.

The people would have looked and wondered at what Aaron did when he killed that bull. All their lives they were taught a bull represented Egypt’s savior, a connection between themselves and those gods they worshiped. God put an end to that god and opened up a path to a whole new set of symbols pointing to this world’s only true Savior.

Amazing how God told Moses about sacrificing a bull at the entrance of the Tabernacle before Aaron and the other people got the idea to make a golden calf. Notice how there wasn’t any purification of that gold. Just throw it in and see what came out.

What we just did is follow the general rules of context by looking back on a series of stories to see a spiritual connection and learn the details that connected them. We didn’t jump around from book to book to solve the spiritual meaning of a symbol. Nor did we gather proof texts from different sections of the Bible and different stories to prove a preconceived idea. We followed a story in the way it was recorded until the story unfolded. Remember, this series of stories is one long story. This story told us, Moses is still on the mountain with God getting details about the Tabernacle and its services. Instructions for Aaron to follow when he consecrated himself and his sons is part of that overall story. We see how God reveals the meaning of a symbol within the proper context when we stay within the story. The same story guarantees the proper context.

People miss the seriousness of this story about Aaron and that calf when they jump from book to book, story to story, or worse yet, one sentence to another. Like little parts of gold jewelry, they gather up little bits and pieces of scripture from here and there, melt them down and make their own gods. Their gold is mixed with all kinds of stuff that makes it impure. But they don’t care. They think those other elements makes it better. They don’t give God’s Spirit the chance to purify the message. The spiritual meaning of that calf and the bull Aaron sacrificed to atone for his sins explain the spiritual meaning of the symbols in this story. God recorded stories for us to study each one as a whole. God never intended for His Word to be torn apart, melted down, and to have men claim authority over His recorded Word.

Go Down the Mountain

Exodus 32:6-8 NLTse The people got up early the next morning to sacrifice burnt offerings and peace offerings. After this, they celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry. (7) The LORD told Moses, “Quick! Go down the mountain! Your people whom you brought from the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. (8) How quickly they have turned away from the way I commanded them to live! They have melted down gold and made a calf, and they have bowed down and sacrificed to it. They are saying, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.'”

How many people see the message in these few verses? Before Moses went up the mountain alone to meet with God, Israel turned down the offer to be His kingdom of priests. They told Moses to go up, talk to God, then come back and tell them what He said. Moses was gone for a little over a month. Those same people who refused to be God’s priests decided to be priests in their own religion.

There’s no question this happens today. The Christian world is filled with priests, pastors, and ministers of all kinds with no idea how to talk with God, and in many cases, no intention of trying to communicate with Him. Where do they get their information from? No one really knows. They think someone along their chain of command listens to God, but their not sure who or how. Neither can they explain how to communicate with God.

God compared their sacrifices to pagan revelry. Does this include sacrificing individuals because modern day priests and pastors don’t know how to learn, teach, or turn lives over to Jesus? I’ve seen my share of Internet discussions and videos with pastors claiming they or their church have authority for this or that. They usually claim authority to interpret scripture or power over distribution of spiritual gifts. They claim they are assuring people don’t make mistakes and teach the wrong thing. When people are led by God’s Spirit, when they listen and obey God’s voice, how can they teach the wrong thing? Isn’t that God’s concern? I’ve asked dozens of pastors, church leaders, and individuals where the Bible says Jesus gave the authority He earned by His sacrifice to anyone. No one has been able to answer that question except to say, “everyone knows He did.” Just because you repeat something enough times does not make it true. Nor does God change His plan of salvation based on the will of a majority. All that rebellion does is delay joy associated with God’s promises and forces millions to suffer for their mistakes.

I Have Seen Their Rebellion

Exodus 32:9-14 NLTse Then the LORD said, “I have seen how stubborn and rebellious these people are. (10) Now leave me alone so my fierce anger can blaze against them, and I will destroy them. Then I will make you, Moses, into a great nation.” (11) But Moses tried to pacify the LORD his God. “O LORD!” he said. “Why are you so angry with your own people whom you brought from the land of Egypt with such great power and such a strong hand? (12) Why let the Egyptians say, ‘Their God rescued them with the evil intention of slaughtering them in the mountains and wiping them from the face of the earth’? Turn away from your fierce anger. Change your mind about this terrible disaster you have threatened against your people! (13) Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. You bound yourself with an oath to them, saying, ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven. And I will give them all of this land that I have promised to your descendants, and they will possess it forever.'” (14) So the LORD changed his mind about the terrible disaster he had threatened to bring on his people.

God showed His way of doing things is to start over from scratch. He did it with the flood, then with Abraham. After Israel’s display of pagan revelry, God was ready to start over again. This time He was going to begin with Moses. But Moses stood up for Israel and saved them. This is another example of a priest, someone who pleads with God for the people he knows. Did you notice Moses was speaking directly with God? I’ve heard dozens of pastors preach on those verses, but none of them used it as an illustration showing attributes their supposed to possess, or how their supposed to talk directly to God. A great sermon begins at God’s throne followed by a good long look in the mirror.

Moses reminded God about His battle with those false gods from Egypt. That’s all God had to hear. God wanted to know someone was paying attention to the lesson He was teaching by using a series of stories, lessons, and symbols. God needed Moses to speak up. He needed people to see the difference one person can make.

Moses Threw the Tablets

Exodus 32:15-19 NLTse Then Moses turned and went down the mountain. He held in his hands the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant. They were inscribed on both sides, front and back. (16) These tablets were God’s work; the words on them were written by God himself. (17) When Joshua heard the boisterous noise of the people shouting below them, he exclaimed to Moses, “It sounds like war in the camp!” (18) But Moses replied, “No, it’s not a shout of victory nor the wailing of defeat. I hear the sound of a celebration.” (19) When they came near the camp, Moses saw the calf and the dancing, and he burned with anger. He threw the stone tablets to the ground, smashing them at the foot of the mountain.

I have to admit, I never did figure out why Moses broke that first set of tablets. I’ve heard a lot of explanations, but all of them were man made fabrications. Nothing more than what I would consider opinions. There has to be an explanation in scripture. I have another question. Where did Joshua come into the picture?

So Moses and his assistant Joshua set out, and Moses climbed up the mountain of God. Moses told the elders, “Stay here and wait for us until we come back. Aaron and Hur are here with you. If anyone has a dispute while I am gone, consult with them.” Then Moses climbed up the mountain, and the cloud covered it. And the glory of the LORD settled down on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days. On the seventh day the LORD called to Moses from inside the cloud. To the Israelites at the foot of the mountain, the glory of the LORD appeared at the summit like a consuming fire. Then Moses disappeared into the cloud as he climbed higher up the mountain. He remained on the mountain forty days and forty nights. (Exodus 24:13-18 NLTse).

Based on the text, it appeared Joshua went up the mountain with Moses. It also appears Joshua stayed at one level while Moses went into a cloud to meet with God. It seems a little unusual for two men to go up a mountain and return forty days later with two tablets of stone with God’s law written on them. Is there a connection between Moses, Joshua, and God’s law we don’t see?

It doesn’t seem right to compare anyone to God’s law. After all, not one of us has been able to keep all of it. And how could God’s law be used as a symbol to point to two men? Or did Moses and Joshua somehow teach us something about the law we haven’t see yet? Maybe we can understand a little more if we looked at what is referred to as the fear of God. We can look at a few examples later in Israel’s journey to see if there is any connection.

Genesis 28:16-17 NLTse Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!” (17) But he was also afraid and said, “What an awesome place this is! It is none other than the house of God, the very gateway to heaven!”

Exodus 3:5-6 NLTse “Do not come any closer,” the LORD warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground. (6) I am the God of your father–the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” When Moses heard this, he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God.

Exodus 20:18-20 NLTse When the people heard the thunder and the loud blast of the ram’s horn, and when they saw the flashes of lightning and the smoke billowing from the mountain, they stood at a distance, trembling with fear. (19) And they said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen. But don’t let God speak directly to us, or we will die!” (20) “Don’t be afraid,” Moses answered them, “for God has come in this way to test you, and so that your fear of him will keep you from sinning!”

Jacob, Moses, and the people all feared God. Why? Jacob deceived his father and stole the perceived birthright from his brother. Moses looked at God in the form of a burning bush. Israel heard God’s voice as He gave them the ten commandments for the first time. We can see Jacob didn’t have much of a relationship with God at that time. Otherwise he would have known better than to lie his father. Moses went up that mountain to find out who God was. Israel was stuck on Egyptian deities and hadn’t heard from God for four hundred years. None of them really knew God before He talked with them. Another thing they all had in common when the Bible said they were afraid, all of them were in God’s presence at that moment. The fear of God is being in His presence.

Psalms 130:1-8 NLTse From the depths of despair, O LORD, I call for your help. (2) Hear my cry, O Lord. Pay attention to my prayer. (3) LORD, if you kept a record of our sins, who, O Lord, could ever survive? (4) But you offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear you. (5) I am counting on the LORD; yes, I am counting on him. I have put my hope in his word. (6) I long for the Lord more than sentries long for the dawn, yes, more than sentries long for the dawn. (7) O Israel, hope in the LORD; for with the LORD there is unfailing love. His redemption overflows. (8) He himself will redeem Israel from every kind of sin.

David was in God’s presence in a way we should all understand. He talked with God and listened. David understood God because he had a relationship with Him. When we read through stories about Jacob and Moses, we see how they had times when they weren’t sure how to listen. As their relationship with God grew, so did their communication skills. Those are lessons we need to learn from.

Moses and Joshua were contracts to those people at the bottom of that mountain. Moses talked with God, Joshua waited. The people at the base of the mountain saw God’s presence. They knew where God was. They knew He was watching. But they refused to talk to Him. It didn’t take long for them to develop a sense of self reliance. We might call it selfishness. In this example, we’re shown where that always leads – to idol worship.

It may not be a golden calf. Idols come in many forms. The enemy makes a living from disguising idols and other deceptions. We can see how those people made themselves priests after they turned down God’s offer to be His priests. They sacrificed, set up ceremonies, and made a god all in clear site of God. How far does the world go today when most Christians are convinced God doesn’t listen anymore?

Moses Ground the Calf to Powder

Exodus 32:20-28 NLTse He took the calf they had made and burned it. Then he ground it into powder, threw it into the water, and forced the people to drink it. (21) Finally, he turned to Aaron and demanded, “What did these people do to you to make you bring such terrible sin upon them?” (22) “Don’t get so upset, my lord,” Aaron replied. “You yourself know how evil these people are. (23) They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will lead us. We don’t know what happened to this fellow Moses, who brought us here from the land of Egypt.’ (24) So I told them, ‘Whoever has gold jewelry, take it off.’ When they brought it to me, I simply threw it into the fire–and out came this calf!” (25) Moses saw that Aaron had let the people get completely out of control, much to the amusement of their enemies. (26) So he stood at the entrance to the camp and shouted, “All of you who are on the LORD’s side, come here and join me.” And all the Levites gathered around him. (27) Moses told them, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Each of you, take your swords and go back and forth from one end of the camp to the other. Kill everyone–even your brothers, friends, and neighbors.” (28) The Levites obeyed Moses’ command, and about 3,000 people died that day.

Gold has a strange property. When dissolved in thinner, it turns the brightest red. Gold is used to tint the finest red paints. Some time on that mountain, Moses must have been shown how to burn gold to a point before it melted, quickly cooled it to make it brittle, then grind it to dust so it would easily dissolve in water which is nature’s best thinner. Israel drank the idol in a liquid resembling blood.

Who can estimate the thoughts that must have gone through their minds when one after another person drank that potion. Can you imagine breaking God’s law like they did while He was watching from His mountain? We should be able to imagine such a thing. We all do it everyday.

Aaron’s response takes us back to that first sin in Genesis when Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the serpent. Adam also blamed God. Aaron blamed Moses. If Moses knew how evil the people were, why did he leave Aaron alone and in charge? Aaron said, “why did you put me in charge?”

What goes through your mind when you compare the idol Aaron made to what Eve did at that tree in the garden? How does a bite of fruit compare to a golden calf? The first comparison seen is the way each shifted blame. Neither Aaron, Adam, or Eve took responsibility. Their first reaction was to put someone in their place to pay the penalty. Now we can see why God worked up a plan to do what people want – someone to take the blame and pay the penalty for sin. Now that we understand how God works with human nature, we know He understands it much better than us. God immediately saw that side of human nature. How long did it take for you to catch on?

Neither one of them understood God, His nature, or power. David summed up something they should have been thinking about. O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand! I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! (Psalms 139:1-7 NLTse).

Why would you try lying to a God who sees and knows everything? As if people think they can get away with something. We still see that attitude today, but with a new angle. People actually believe all they need to do is pray at the last minute and all their sins will be forgiven. What about all those sins you’d rather blame on someone else? I’m sure there’s a long list of them. That’s why it’s important to communicate with God, so he can remind you about them. Now we understand why Aaron had to place his hands on the bull, the first, and second ram. He had to do it himself, and show the people, we need to repeat the process of atonement, remembering our sins. If Aaron, Adam, Eve, and all of us for that matter can forget God is always watching, I’d say there is a really good chance we’re going to forget a sin or two if we rely on our own judgment and memory.

How serious is the matter of atonement and asking to be forgiven? There is always the chance your life will end in a flash. Look what happened to those people at the base of that mountain. Moses told them to stand on one side or the other. It appeared only the Levites, the same family Aaron and Moses came from, joined with their brothers. There must have been members from other families because they all show up in later chapters, and only 3,000 people were killed that day.

That is a small percentage of the 600,000 that left Israel. This shows how a small group of people can effect an entire group. Still loosing 3000 is a great loss. Think for a moment why they were killed and if anything could have been done to save them. Then consider the circumstances.

Moses Atones for Israel

Exodus 32:29-35 NLTse Then Moses told the Levites, “Today you have ordained yourselves for the service of the LORD, for you obeyed him even though it meant killing your own sons and brothers. Today you have earned a blessing.” (30) The next day Moses said to the people, “You have committed a terrible sin, but I will go back up to the LORD on the mountain. Perhaps I will be able to obtain forgiveness for your sin.” (31) So Moses returned to the LORD and said, “Oh, what a terrible sin these people have committed. They have made gods of gold for themselves. (32) But now, if you will only forgive their sin–but if not, erase my name from the record you have written!” (33) But the LORD replied to Moses, “No, I will erase the name of everyone who has sinned against me. (34) Now go, lead the people to the place I told you about. Look! My angel will lead the way before you. And when I come to call the people to account, I will certainly hold them responsible for their sins.” (35) Then the LORD sent a great plague upon the people because they had worshiped the calf Aaron had made.

What a strange way to obtain a blessing. Who would have ever thought killing someone would be associated with an ordination. This is another case where it pays to look at another translation. For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves to day to the LORD, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother; that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day. (Exodus 32:29 KJV).

We can see the word ordained isn’t used in the KJV. That translation used the word consecrate. The Hebrew word means to be full of in relationship to a hand. We can see the Levites are being set apart because they stood up against sin. But how did they stand up against it? By killing people. They obeyed God and killed their brothers, fellow Israelites. This seems strange and out of character for a loving God. We can’t imagine what actually led to such a disaster. We’re told about the calf, festival, and sacrifices they offered. Did that push them over the line? Why did some die while others were given a second chance?

There’s a second verse to look at. The NLT translation said, obtain forgiveness. The KJV used the word atonement. And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the LORD; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin. (Exodus 32:30 KJV). The Hebrew word for atonement means to cover. We covered those details in previous chapters. When we read the end of the chapter, we can see that’s what Moses did, reminded God about what happened. Moses couldn’t forgive or cover those sins himself. All Moses could do is remind God about those sins and ask Him to forgive them. Moses did something really strange. He offered God a choice. Was Moses getting bold? We have to ask why this conversation was recorded. It seems like a natural part of the story, but take a closer look at what’s going on.

In the midst of all of what was going on, Moses stepped up and talked to God like he could bargain with Him. What could possibly make Moses think he could bargain with the God of the universe? Moses just spent forty days and nights talking with God. Moses learned more about God than most people would ever hope for. Of course they became friends. That was part of the lesson. Just because most of those people turned down the chance to be God’s priests didn’t mean the lessons stopped. The lessons continued. Moses illustrated another vital detail about priests. They aren’t afraid to talk to God. They know God. They trust God. How many priests do you know who are like that?

That calf caused God to send a plague through the camp. Who can help but notice the correlation between the first and last verse in the chapter? They both deal with the calf. The introduction tells about making the calf. The summation tells about the consequences. The detail that gets to me is how people place such a literal meaning on this lesson. As long as their not worshiping a golden calf, people feel safe. Is that true?

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The Priesthood

Posted by Ez1 Realty on November 22, 2016

Chapter 1 Priesthood

Aaron and His Sons

Exodus 28:1-4 NLTse “Call for your brother, Aaron, and his sons, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. Set them apart from the rest of the people of Israel so they may minister to me and be my priests. (2) Make sacred garments for Aaron that are glorious and beautiful. (3) Instruct all the skilled craftsmen whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom. Have them make garments for Aaron that will distinguish him as a priest set apart for my service. (4) These are the garments they are to make: a chestpiece, an ephod, a robe, a patterned tunic, a turban, and a sash. They are to make these sacred garments for your brother, Aaron, and his sons to wear when they serve me as priests.

We have to put ourselves in Moses’ shoes so to speak. That first verse about calling his brother points to something personal. Moses brought his brother, and Aaron’s two sons up that mountain to have dinner with God. They were joined by seventy elders. When we look at the Hebrew word for elder, we see it included both men and women. It seems like they left and went down the mountain when God showed Moses all the details about the Tabernacle.

There Moses saw the God of Israel. Under his feet there seemed to be a surface of brilliant blue lapis lazuli, as clear as the sky itself. (Exodus 24:10 NLTse). Moses looked up to see a golden box with cherubim on top, facing each other, looking down at the top of the box. Moses walked around the box while God observed his interest and sense of awe. Moses looked at the detail in the wings, faces of the cherubim, and ripples in the robes they wore. Moses looked over at the design along the rim around the top. God smiled as Moses took a step back to take in the view. He bent down to look at the slender legs, then up at the corners of the box.

Moses turned around when God told him the box is made of acacia wood covered in pure gold. God went on to explain how the box is constructed, how the joints are made to hold the corners together, and how the legs fit into the reinforced corners. God explained the cover is made of a single, solid gold piece. God told Moses how the piece is to be designed and cast.

Moses looked at the poles through the rings attached to the four corners. God explained the poles are also made of acacia wood, covered in gold. God explained how the poles are designed so the Ark will not slide on the poles when it is carried. God pointed out the width and thickness of the rings. God also explained how gold used to cover the Ark is to be purified. Then God explained the process Moses must follow to make gold to cover the poles and rings. God explained how to heat the gold, hold it at the required temperature for a time, and when to add one material, wait, then add other materials in exact proportions at the proper time and temperature.

God moved Moses to the table. Moses was impressed with the way the gold shimmered on the simple design. Moses gave the same attention to detail to the simple table he gave to the Ark. The table didn’t take as long to look over. Moses asked, “let me guess, this is also acacia wood covered in gold.” God smiled as He corrected Moses, “pure gold.” God was glad Moses was catching on so quickly. God went over details on the construction of the table like He explained about the Ark.

God showed Moses curtains hanging on the walls. He drew back the curtain to show a golden wall behind it. Moses looked up at the height of the wall. God went into great detail about the material for the curtains and the patterns sown into them. God showed Moses how the curtains were to be made, how many threads per inch, how to reinforce the edges, attach specially designed rings, and how to hang them.

Moses sat in awe as God showed him the supporting walls. How they were notched to fit into the silver bases, slide together, and interlock. Moses took a closer look at the walls. Seams were barely visible on that air tight seam designed to block out the wind. Moses wondered if Noah used the same seam. God showed Moses tools that had to be made and a method of manufacturing pieces to ensure each was exactly like the others. Moses thought, this is going to take some time. There is a lot to remember.

God knew Moses was not the most confident man in the world. Nor was he the wisest man. At times it took Moses longer to understand than it would take the average man. But once Moses understood, there was little that could shake his memory or confidence.

It took over a month for Moses to write down the descriptions God wanted in writing, and those regulations. There were many more details Moses had to dedicate to memory. Exact dimensions, formulas for materials, processes to make those materials, assembly instructions, and many more materials.

God suddenly changed to a new subject. Moses was to set his brother Aaron and his two sons apart from the rest of the people. Only three people were supposed to serve as priests. Since Israel turned down God’s offer to become a kingdom of priests, God had no choice but to go to plan B. From a million priests to three. Talk about slowing down the plan salvation. Who can measure the cost in lives over the generations it took before Jesus ended the Levitical priesthood and showed the world that direct path to God’s throne.

As we look back, we see a list of details God provided to prepare Aaron and his sons for the priesthood. God made a way for Aaron to escape from Egypt and led him straight to Moses. Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” But Moses again pleaded, “Lord, please! Send anyone else.” Then the LORD became angry with Moses. “All right,” he said. “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he speaks well. And look! He is on his way to meet you now. He will be delighted to see you. Talk to him, and put the words in his mouth. I will be with both of you as you speak, and I will instruct you both in what to do. Aaron will be your spokesman to the people. He will be your mouthpiece, and you will stand in the place of God for him, telling him what to say. (Exodus 4:12-16 NLTse).

Not only did God tell Moses and Aaron everything to say, we see how God was busy arranging details long before Moses asked the question, or cast any shadow of doubt. God made a way for Aaron to leave Egypt and guided Aaron straight to his brother, all with perfect timing. This is an important lesson for a priest to learn. A priest has to have trust God has been working on details to solve problems long before we’re aware it is a problem. When we see how God has been working on details, we owe it to God to tell people about how we were lost and confused before we saw God’s plan clearly revealed. This is what a lot of people call a personal witness. God showed how this process works and the reason for the process at the Red Sea. And once again I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after you. I have planned this in order to display my glory through Pharaoh and his whole army. After this the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD!” So the Israelites camped there as they were told. (Exodus 14:4 NLTse).

All of those things are done for God’s glory. As a priest, our greatest role is glorifying God by telling people what He has done in our lives. We become a personal witness for God which is the definition God placed on the priesthood.

The priesthood began at the Passover when the elders were called together. While the Israelites were still in the land of Egypt, the LORD gave the following instructions to Moses and Aaron: “From now on, this month will be the first month of the year for you. Announce to the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each family must choose a lamb or a young goat for a sacrifice, one animal for each household. Then Moses called all the elders of Israel together and said to them, “Go, pick out a lamb or young goat for each of your families, and slaughter the Passover animal. (Exodus 12:1-3, 21 NLTse).

Israel was instructed to share their personal experience including that event. When you enter the land the LORD has promised to give you, you will continue to observe this ceremony. Then your children will ask, ‘What does this ceremony mean?’ And you will reply, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, for he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt. And though he struck the Egyptians, he spared our families.'” When Moses had finished speaking, all the people bowed down to the ground and worshiped. (Exodus 12:25-27 NLTse).

Before God began instructing priests about their roles, He had to get the Egyptian form of worship out of their systems. We’ve seen how God used a series of plagues to teach lessons designed to prepare Israel for the priesthood. Every time we look back, we see a few we’ve missed. As we slowly progress through the step by step process Moses recorded, we can see how they keep pointing us back to specific details.

It takes more than a personal witness to be a priest. Another detail recorded in the process is knowing God tells a priest what to say, when to say it, and who to say it to. This has to be the most difficult aspect of the priesthood to understand. Imagine a priest saying only what God tells them to say. Is there any other way? There are a thousand different ways to be a priest. All of them are variations of Egyptian practices they were supposed to leave in Egypt. God made it very clear – God either controls you, or you control the gods you worship.

God’s form of worship is simple. You tell people your personal experiences with Him. How God set up details that effected and changed your life. Tell people how you learned to trust God. How God communicates with you. How God surprised you. How God blessed you.

The form of worship left behind in Egypt was far different. Priest told people what they needed to do to serve their gods. They had to follow orders from priests appointed by Pharaoh. Their gods didn’t communicate with people. There was no way for their gods to communicate with people – they didn’t exist. The priests set up a form of worship that sounded good, made sense, and everyone believed, but it never led to anything. There was no personal witnessing because there was not relationship between their gods and people.

When Israel turned down God’s offer for a personal relationship, they told God they wanted to go back to the from of worship they learned in Egypt. Everything God taught them was lost. They threw it all away. They placed an enormous burden on Moses. God would have shown every detail about the Tabernacle to the people involved in making each piece. God would have personally instructed each person, but they turned down the offer. Moses had to learn every process to fabricate each piece, all the materials, and designs for each piece. Moses had to, “Instruct all the skilled craftsmen whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom.” Moses had to learn every details on all the priest’s clothing.

Have them make garments for Aaron that will distinguish him as a priest set apart for my service. These are the garments they are to make: a chestpiece, an ephod, a robe, a patterned tunic, a turban, and a sash. They are to make these sacred garments for your brother, Aaron, and his sons to wear when they serve me as priests.

God gave Israel what they wanted. A few priests dressed the way they wanted to see them. But locked away in the high priest’s uniform were symbols they didn’t understand. Symbols generations had to wait to see revealed.


Exodus 28:5-8 NLTse So give them fine linen cloth, gold thread, and blue, purple, and scarlet thread. (6) “The craftsmen must make the ephod of finely woven linen and skillfully embroider it with gold and with blue, purple, and scarlet thread. (7) It will consist of two pieces, front and back, joined at the shoulders with two shoulder-pieces. (8) The decorative sash will be made of the same materials: finely woven linen embroidered with gold and with blue, purple, and scarlet thread.

Priests wore the same colors used to make up the inside of the Tabernacle which showed a connection with it. Those colors served as a reminder of what Israel gave up. People passing and gathering at the entrance of the courtyard could see the colors blue, purple, and scarlet, but they didn’t see much of the gold. Not even when the Tabernacle was taken down to be transported. For forty years gold reminded Israel of the treasure they passed up. All they saw from the outside was brass.

I actually had to look up the word linen to see what details the Hebrew word adds. It describes linen as a bleached white cloth. The first item described for the priest was a simple white linen garment called an ephod. The ephod had the same colors sown into the borders as the courtyard and curtains inside the Tabernacle. Gold was also used as an accent. God had a reason for repeating the colors, and using them on the priest’s garments. People were shown a taste of what is inside the Tabernacle, but never saw the complete picture.

It’s the same now when people follow the old ways of the priesthood God introduced as a plan B. Whenever people depend on someone to talk to God for them, they miss the best parts, the wonders inside the room where Jesus waits to meet you. They miss the meal, conversation, the way light from the lamps dance off the walls, and show off detailed patterns on the inner curtains. They miss details Jesus has to tell you about your life. How He wants you to reach out to others, the endless love He offers you. The love that should flow through you to others. You miss the gifts He’s prepared for you. The gift of knowledge, wisdom, learning, prophecy, sharing, loving, healing, charity, patience, all the wonders in the universe, and locked in His Word. Like the priest’s garment, we see a small part of that gold, but miss out on the majority of the splendor.

Looking back on personal experiences, I can see how personal testimonies are one of the easiest way to distinguish God’s priests from people playing the role because it’s a job. As a matter of fact, God put me in a position to see the contrast in a big way.

The week almost drove me nuts. I was quickly reaching a breaking point. I had to often stop and question my faith in God. How could I say I trusted God and worry at the same time? I called one of the pastors I work with and asked if it was okay if me moved the phone away from his ear for a few seconds so I could scream. The problem I was having concerned the sale of my house. What appeared to me as a five minute task consumed an entire week. Parties involved did what people do best. Pointed fingers and claimed it wasn’t their job. All I needed was a simple email answered from either one person or the other. It dragged on until the last minute.

Sure I prayed. Sure I tried to convince myself God was in control of the whole situation. Sure I was frustrated and talked out loud to God asking why I couldn’t get this person or the other to do such a simple task. Sure I came up with a dozen ways to solve the problem and a plan B, C, and D just in case things didn’t work out. The fact of the matter was, the little problem over whelmed my mind, caused me undo stress to the point I was exhausted at the end of the day, and was physically effecting me. I wasn’t planning meals, forgot to pay one bill, damn those late charges, I found my concentration wasn’t at a top level while driving or other times of the day. How can you be a Christian and worry like that? At least I was smart enough to look back at the whole lesson.

A friend called me and asked me to attend a meeting with a few pastors interested in Real Estate investing. I agreed. Later she asked me to pick her up. It wasn’t that far out of the way. I got to her office where she told me, she needed a ride downtown to pay her taxes. I hate going downtown. She may as well have asked me to cut off a finger. We hopped in the car and drove downtown a few minutes before rush hour. She called to let the pastors know we would be late for the meeting.

We got to city hall and found a parking space right in front of the door. It was a wide parking space I pulled into in one attempt. She ran in to pay her taxes. I sat and watched a woman in a smaller car trying to parallel park in a larger space in front of me. She kept turning her wheels the wrong way time after time. She got out of the car and told me I should move so she could use two spaces to pull into. I was on the phone and ignored her.

We were on the road and on our way to the meeting with five minutes to spare. We were five minutes a head of rush hour traffic, a few thousand cars, many of them with the same attitude as the woman parking in front of me. The ride was smooth and we made it on time. The other pastors was late. We sat down with one of the pastors and talked about how we saw God working in our lives that week.

The other pastor was a real contrast to the first at the meeting. The second pastor wanted to purchase a house next to his church. He bragged about the value of his church and how much money it brought in along with how long he’s been in business. The list price on the property was $4000. The hang up and reason for the meeting was, it was a city owned property, and the city will sell some properties to nonprofit organizations for $1. The pastor who wanted to buy the house never filed as a nonprofit, but bragged he never paid taxes. He got into a few details I questioned. I asked a few questions to gauge some views on scripture. He flip flopped on views and subjects.

We explained how to apply as a nonprofit so he could buy the property for $1. But the man kept arguing he knew more than the other people at the meeting. The other pastor purchased a number of properties from the city for $1 based on his nonprofit status. After more than an hour the goals of the pastor who wanted to buy the $4000 house became evident. I tried introducing a few facts and figures to he could figure out the big picture.

The city would most likely accept $3000 for the house. The city would pay the real estate agent who asked me to attend the meeting $1500. So he is actually paying the city $1500 for the house. To file for a nonprofit status to buy the house for $1, he would have to pay the federal government $850 and an accountant $250 to file out the 19 page nonprofit application. I charge $500 for that service. Normal fees for that service range from $800 to over $2000.

Fact of the matter was, the man would have to invest $1100 to buy the house for $1. It boiled down to a simple choice. He could buy the house next to his church that week, the real estate agent would get paid, and he would not run the risk of loosing the house. But to save himself $399, he was willing to wait a few months to file as a nonprofit and ask the real estate agent to donate her time for free.

The man couldn’t make any sense out of what I was trying to explain. He was too filled with self to see how he was taking advantage of the agent trying to help him. He didn’t care he was wasting our time by bragging about all his achievements. I called an end to the meeting, walked out with the other agent and told her, “I could never work with that one pastor. I’ve worked with too many investors with that mentality, and when he said saving $399 was more important than seeing you get paid $1500 showed me exactly where his mind was stuck.”

The real contrast was how that meeting began, praising God as we shared what He did for us that week, and how it ended, a pastor bragging about what he did and what he plans on doing. I suddenly saw, God showed me how His priests will always have a personal testimony to share as a witness. But make believe priests, carbon copies of those priests in Egypt will testify about their accomplishments. That is exactly what those priests and magicians did in Pharaoh’s court, showed off what they could accomplish.

Onyx Stones

Exodus 28:9-14 NLTse “Take two onyx stones, and engrave on them the names of the tribes of Israel. (10) Six names will be on each stone, arranged in the order of the births of the original sons of Israel. (11) Engrave these names on the two stones in the same way a jeweler engraves a seal. Then mount the stones in settings of gold filigree. (12) Fasten the two stones on the shoulder-pieces of the ephod as a reminder that Aaron represents the people of Israel. Aaron will carry these names on his shoulders as a constant reminder whenever he goes before the LORD. (13) Make the settings of gold filigree, (14) then braid two cords of pure gold and attach them to the filigree settings on the shoulders of the ephod.

The simple ephod is followed by none other than a set of onyx stones engraved with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. Six names are on each stone. Looking back a few verses and we can see the family connection God is setting. Moses was to call his brother Aaron. The onyx stones have the names of twelve brothers. This served as a reminder, we all all brothers in God’s eyes. To Christians it’s supposed to remind us, we are all brothers in Christ.

God could have easily engraved those stones Himself and given them to Moses to carry down that mountain with him. But God wanted someone to work on placing each letter into those stones. This showed the work involved to make every man a brother, and see how God loves all of them. God expects us to put an effort in. How difficult could it be to tell people about the experiences you had with God?

Look at all the examples in Exodus. God repeated Himself for a reason. So we wouldn’t miss the lesson. He performs those miracles in our lives so we can share His wonderful deeds with others. And lead them to God. Then He preforms more miracles in their lives, they tell other people, and lead more people to God. It’s such a simple process. How could it do anything but succeed? No one could come up with an easier plan. But what happened with to that plan?

People seem afraid to share, or they don’t know how to share. They may not see how God blessed them, or don’t take time to look back at all the details God had to arrange for a certain event to turn out the way it did. Why don’t Christians teach people how to witness?

Some do. The problem is, they teach it the wrong way. They don’t rely on what’s taught in the Bible, but rely on plans conceived in a boardroom. Moses recorded what God told him what to write. God kept telling Moses to look back over details. God pointed Moses all the way back to a prophecy Abraham received four hundred years before Moses showed up in Pharaoh’s court. If Moses looked back four hundred years, shouldn’t we teach people to look back four days or weeks? What has God done in your life you should be telling people about? The godly will see these things and be glad, while the wicked are struck silent. Those who are wise will take all this to heart; they will see in our history the faithful love of the LORD. (Psalms 107:42-43 NLTse).

Those onyx stones served as a reminder. A reminder of what? I think we can find the answer by looking a little deeper into the text. In this case, using a different translation may help. And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel: (Exodus 28:9 KJV).

Before we begin diving into the onyx stones, I’d like to look at one of the colors used throughout the Tabernacle. The word to describe the color scarlet actually refers to worm found in the manna when people tried saving it for the next day. That worm was used to extract red dye.

According to the Hebrew translation, the onyx stone is a pale green color. We haven’t seen that color used in the Tabernacle yet. The color would stand out based on the fact it is rare in the Tabernacle. The word grave, or engrave has an interesting definition.

Engrave (grave) H6605 פּתח pâthach

A primitive root; to open wide (literally or figuratively); specifically to loosen, begin, plough, carve: – appear, break forth, draw (out), let go free, (en-) grave (-n), loose (self), (be, beset) open (-ing), put off, ungird, unstop, have vent.

The word used to set the names in the onyx stones refers back to the freedom Israel received by leaving Egypt. As we’ve seen, there is a physical and spiritual freedom involved. As usual, the physical freedom was easy to accept and appreciate. On the other hand, that spiritual freedom required a lot more thought and understanding. I’d have to say, if you think your capable of explaining that freedom, you have not experienced any measure of the spiritual freedom God offered Israel.

We also see one translation used the word tribes, while another used children. The actual Hebrew word is derived from a number of other words which include, son, daughter, branch, nephew, and a long list of relatives. That Hebrew word also included calf, lamb, and other new born animals. This reminds me of another story in the Bible. Then the LORD said, “You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. It came quickly and died quickly. But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?” (Jonah 4:10-11 NLTse). God just doesn’t stop caring for those animals.

God had His own way of fastening those onyx stones to the breastplate, or ephod. Some people insist those two stones were part of the breastplate. Here Moses said they were fastened on the shoulders of the ephod using gold chains or threads depending on the translation. Once again we have to avoid jumping ahead to define symbols. Gold was used to hold the two stones with the twelve names of Israel’s children to the ephod worn by the high priest. The gold chains wrapped around the high priest to hold those stones in place. There should be enough there to think about.


Exodus 28:15-29 NLTse “Then, with great skill and care, make a chestpiece to be worn for seeking a decision from God. Make it to match the ephod, using finely woven linen embroidered with gold and with blue, purple, and scarlet thread. (16) Make the chestpiece of a single piece of cloth folded to form a pouch nine inches square. (17) Mount four rows of gemstones on it. The first row will contain a red carnelian, a pale green peridot, and an emerald. (18) The second row will contain a turquoise, a blue lapis lazuli, and a white moonstone. (19) The third row will contain an orange jacinth, an agate, and a purple amethyst. (20) The fourth row will contain a blue-green beryl, an onyx, and a green jasper. All these stones will be set in gold filigree. (21) Each stone will represent one of the twelve sons of Israel, and the name of that tribe will be engraved on it like a seal. (22) “To attach the chestpiece to the ephod, make braided cords of pure gold thread. (23) Then make two gold rings and attach them to the top corners of the chestpiece. (24) Tie the two gold cords to the two rings on the chestpiece. (25) Tie the other ends of the cords to the gold settings on the shoulder-pieces of the ephod. (26) Then make two more gold rings and attach them to the inside edges of the chestpiece next to the ephod. (27) And make two more gold rings and attach them to the front of the ephod, below the shoulder-pieces, just above the knot where the decorative sash is fastened to the ephod. (28) Then attach the bottom rings of the chestpiece to the rings on the ephod with blue cords. This will hold the chestpiece securely to the ephod above the decorative sash. (29) “In this way, Aaron will carry the names of the tribes of Israel on the sacred chestpiece over his heart when he goes into the Holy Place. This will be a continual reminder that he represents the people when he comes before the LORD.

Then God gave Moses the design of a very important piece. It was called the breastplate. God told Moses it was used to seek God’s decision. It seems strange Moses listed that detail without going into an explanation. How did God provide answers and counsel through a breastplate? At this point, we don’t know. The fact Moses didn’t record the exact process is another reminder of what Israel gave up. So much of the Tabernacle became a mystery.

I’ve read some descriptions of the breastplate, but few of them seem to match the description Moses recorded. The breastplate was made to match the ephod. It was the same color and decorated with the same color thread. The breastplate was actually made to be a pouch. At this point, we’re not told what that pouch held.

Mounted on the front of that linen breastplate were twelve stones, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. Again we see the theme of brothers and family repeated. This time each is represented by a single stone. Some people jump ahead to make a comparison to the twelve foundations for the New City Jerusalem.

The wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The wall of the city was built on foundation stones inlaid with twelve precious stones: the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. (Revelation 21:14, 19-20 NLTse).

As we can see, the foundations for New Jerusalem represents the apostles. Although some of the stones are the same, others are different. This shows how you can’t assume one symbol explains another. There isn’t much of a comparison between the Tabernacle and the City of New Jerusalem. The two sets of gemstones show two very important groups of people who cannot be connected by time or the roles they served in the plan of salvation. If anything, a review of those lives will show how each person had individual needs, desires, expectations, attributes, and short comings.

Looking at Jacob’s sons, we see a long list of mistakes they made. You can review those stories on your own. Some people claim Joseph was near perfect. Compared to his brothers, that may be a somewhat accurate description. But when it came to marriage, Joseph may have made the biggest mistake. Then Pharaoh gave Joseph a new Egyptian name, Zaphenath-paneah. He also gave him a wife, whose name was Asenath. She was the daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On. So Joseph took charge of the entire land of Egypt. (Genesis 41:45 NLTse). We really shouldn’t judge if marrying an Egyptian woman, the daughter of a priest was a good or bad thing for Joseph. We do see repeated problems with the tribes that came from Joseph’s two sons, known as half tribes. David also told us something about Joseph and his influence in Egypt. Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the LORD tested Joseph’s character. Then Pharaoh sent for him and set him free; the ruler of the nation opened his prison door. Joseph was put in charge of all the king’s household; he became ruler over all the king’s possessions. He could instruct the king’s aides as he pleased and teach the king’s advisers. (Psalms 105:19-22 NLTse).

Joseph was placed in a position to teach. About what? When we look at the story, we can see Joseph taught the people how to collect and store grain. He also could teach them about God. But when we look at the outcome of the stories four hundred years later, not even Joseph had much of an influence.

The apostles followed a different course in life. Their stories began when Jesus found them and told them to follow. Like Jacob’s son’s, some of the apostles are little more than named. Little is known about them.

This is one of those points where we have to step back from a study to see where we are, and where we’re headed. What we did is entered into the land called rabbit hole theology. It’s named rabbit hole theology because it is like hunting a rabbit by jumping from hole to hole. You have no idea where the rabbit is, or where it will pop up. Rabbits live in a series of underground caverns with a number of openings designed to confuse and frustrate the hunter, who never seems to catch the rabbit. Bible study that jumps from subject to subject may seem like it is going somewhere, but never accomplished the intended goal.

Getting back to the breastplate, we see another detail it has in common with the onyx stones. Both are tied around the priest’s body with gold chains or threads. We also see the names of Jacob’s sons engraved in the stones. Some of those gems are known for their hardness. Diamonds are known for cutting glass. Rubies and sapphires are used for high pressure water jet cutting machines. Gemstones are hard and difficult to engrave. This not only took a great amount of skill, but the right tools. Ordinary steel tools would not have been able to do the job. Many history scholars like to claim to know the exact dates man progressed from wood, to stone, bronze, then iron, or steel weapons. I’ve seen some preachers apply that type of theology to the statue in Daniel’s book. I guess that theory has a few holes in it. Preachers will use the progression from bronze to iron weapons, but that kind of thinking falls apart when you ask them if the previous kingdoms used silver and gold weapons. Fact of the matter is, iron is mentioned in the Bible before the flood. Lamech’s other wife, Zillah, gave birth to a son named Tubal-cain. He became an expert in forging tools of bronze and iron. Tubal-cain had a sister named Naamah. (Genesis 4:22 NLTse). So either the Bible is wrong or historians are making up stories.

God had to show Moses how to make special alloys and tools to engrave those gemstones. This brings up another detail a million people missed out on by rejecting God’s offer. Think of how God could have provided advanced technology to Israel if they would have kept communication channels open. When we shut the door on God, we have no idea what we are giving up.

Moses went into a great amount of detail about how the breastplate is fastened to the high priest’s body. When we look at the order described by Moses, the breastplate covered the cords that held the onyx stones to the high priest. There is a built in double layer of protection. “In this way, Aaron will carry the names of the tribes of Israel on the sacred chestpiece over his heart when he goes into the Holy Place. This will be a continual reminder that he represents the people when he comes before the LORD.”

Insert the Urim and Thummim into the sacred chestpiece so they will be carried over Aaron’s heart when he goes into the LORD’s presence. In this way, Aaron will always carry over his heart the objects used to determine the LORD’s will for his people whenever he goes in before the LORD.(Exodus 28:30 NLTse). The Urim and Thummim are believed to be the special stones God used to answer questions. Many people believe the Urim and Thummim are names for the two onyx stones. But Moses said the Urim and Thummim covered Aaron’s heart. Those two stones were somehow placed in the chestpiece. Does that mean they were carried in the pouch? When we consider the facts, placing the Urim and Thummim inside that pouch seem to be the only explanation. Why are those stones placed inside the pouch? God keeps adding details people gave up on trying to understand. The Hebrew word Urim means fire or fiery glow. Thummim means perfection. The two words together give us a hint of how God used stones to communicate.



Exodus 28:31-35 NLTse “Make the robe that is worn with the ephod from a single piece of blue cloth, (32) with an opening for Aaron’s head in the middle of it. Reinforce the opening with a woven collar so it will not tear. (33) Make pomegranates out of blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, and attach them to the hem of the robe, with gold bells between them. (34) The gold bells and pomegranates are to alternate all around the hem. (35) Aaron will wear this robe whenever he ministers before the LORD, and the bells will tinkle as he goes in and out of the LORD’s presence in the Holy Place. If he wears it, he will not die.

Moses moved to a description of the outer robe worn by the high priest. When we look at the description thus far, some of the details appear strange. The robe is made of a single piece of blue cloth. We’re not told what shade of blue it was. It has an opening at the top for Aaron to put his head through. When we look back at the previous verses, we see the onyx stones and breastplate are attached to the ephod. The Hebrew word for ephod in the Old English sense is girdle, which is worn on the inside, against the body. The Hebrew word for robe means covering. Based on the description given thus far, the blue robe with an opening at the top for Aaron’s head would have completely covered the onyx stones and breastplate.

This is far different than other descriptions I’ve read and all the artist’s conceptions showing how Aaron was dressed. All of them show the breastplate on the outside, and often show the robe as an open robe, designed much like a modern bath robe.

Moses added a strange detail about that robe. The collar was sown and reinforced so it would not tear. The collar was an important part of the design for a reason. If we jump ahead to a few verses we can see why.

Jesus replied, “You have said it. And in the future you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, “Blasphemy! Why do we need other witnesses? You have all heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?” “Guilty!” they shouted. “He deserves to die!” Then they began to spit in Jesus’ face and beat him with their fists. And some slapped him, jeering, “Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who hit you that time?” (Matthew 26:64-68 NLTse).

They asked Jesus to prophecy to them. It seems He already did when the high priest tore open the outer robe to revel the breastplate, a reminder why God is supposed to be consulted on matters of life and death. It was a symbol showing what happens when we put someone between us and God. Eventually people will do everything to lead us away from God while making gods of themselves. That’s the way of the world. When power goes to their heads, it seems like nothing can stop them. That concept was illustrated in Jesus’ ministry that eventually resulted in the loss of His life at the hands of the priests who claimed to be working for God.

For me, this also revealed another important lesson. The day after I wrote this, I went to one of the Bible Studies I attend. The pastor was covering the subject of family structure in scripture. While he was talking, I was suddenly able to put two and two together. When the high priest tore open his robe at Jesus’ trial, he exposed the names representing God’s family. It was something Jesus needed at that moment. Without knowing it, the high priest created a parallel between his torn robe and the torn vail in the temple. The priest opened a view of God’s family and the torn vail represented a direct path to God’s throne for His family.

The lesson didn’t stop there. I have three books where I described that breastplate on the outside of the rode and assumed the high priest didn’t wear the breastplate to Jesus’ trial because he didn’t want to hear God’s opinion. In those books I described a scene where the priest was able to rip that robe because he wasn’t wearing the breastplate. I made the mistake because I was writing based on what I was taught by other people. Take a look at the Internet. Every picture shows the breastplate on the outside of the robe. Moses told us the breastplate is fastened to the ephod or undergarment covered by the robe. This shows how we have to be careful with all the details we’re taught in this world.

This reminded me of another past experience. I was invited to a website to become a so called Bible worker or teacher. The site was run by one of the best known pastors in the church. He was well respected, received invitations to speak all over the world, and paid well for his ministry. The online course consisted of the usual set of doctrines, an explanation, and a supporting verse or two. I read each course and answered the questions at the end, in my own words. I received a series of correspondence from the teachers and directors on that site, telling me to answer the questions from the explanations and verses provided. Their goal was to create a form of unity where everyone gave the same answers. They were breading a set of clones, each person following the direction of that single pastor. They didn’t want people to think. In their minds, there was only one lesson to learn and one correct answer to each question. In reality what they were doing was eliminating God’s Spirit from the process of Bible Study, replacing the Spirit with that one man’s opinion. The church and many people in it praised that pastor for his idea and concept, to blindly follow one man, with one opinion, and one answer. It seems to me, Jesus died to put an end to that type of priesthood. The type of priesthood that puts a man between them and God.

Along the bottom of the robe were a series of designs. Pomegranates were sown in using blue, purple, and scarlet thread. In between the pomegranates were bells so people could hear when Aaron went inside the Tabernacle and when he came out. Moses added another strange detail. “If he wears it, he will not die.” Since this is placed so close to the bells, I would think the sound of the bells was what Moses was drawing attention to.

There was a world wide event, one of the last world wide spiritual revivals. William Miller was given the gift to interpret time prophecies. That was a study all it’s own. If is very focused on the relationship between a number of time prophecies found throughout the Bible. When Miller put those prophecies on a chart, he was able to see a starting point, and an ending point. Once dates were established, Miller saw how prophecies in the Bible indicated time periods between one event and another.

Before Miller could put together his chart, he had to unravel a number of hidden prophecies. He was able to understand a number of prophecies that provided answers to other prophecies, such as a day represents a year, and a month consisted of thirty days. Those are concepts Miller used and are still accepted today by most denominations.

There were a few mistakes Miller made. One mistake centered around the switch from the Hebrew calender, and the one we use today which looks at dates as BC and AD. That mistake shot the date off by a year. The other mistake Miller made is when he interpreted the Sanctuary. Instead of the Heavenly Sanctuary, Miller was convinced the earth was the Sanctuary. That was a big mistake that made Miller preach the wrong message. He was certain those time prophecies pointed to Jesus’ return and the cleansing of the earth. It wasn’t until after the date in October of 1844, Miller saw in scripture, another man saw the Sanctuary being cleansed was in fact the Heavenly Sanctuary.

Hiram Edson saw a vision as he passed through his corn field shortly after what is referred to as the 1844 disappointment. He was given a clear vision of Heaven where he saw Christ entering into the Most Holy apartment in the Sanctuary. Miller’s dates were accurate, but his interpretation was all wrong.

We can see a distinct connection between the hidden stones, the Urim and Thummim, and Miller’s experience. Some things are still hidden, to be revealed only by God when He decides to reveal details. It also served as a reminder showing how dangerous it is to rely on one man.

Many of the details Miller discovered and published are still used today. Some denominations tore apart Miller’s work, using some parts, and throwing others away. But the basic concepts used to study time prophecies have not changed much in the past 150 plus years. But we still face the same problems. It seems the warnings about relying on men to replace a personal relationship with Christ are for the most part, still ignored. Another thing bothers me about that event. Those bells were eventually heard load and clear when Jesus entered the Most Holy place in the Sanctuary. But no one seems to be listening for those bells when He leaves.

Another thing seems to bother me as far as prophecies are concerned. To a large degree it seems this world places its trust in the hands of a few men to interpret prophecies. Most of those men have one interpretation one week, then swing to a totally different interpretation the next week. I’ve also noticed the wide spread use of the proof texts method used to interpret prophecies. Take a single text and use your imagination to come up with an interpretation. Miller’s time studies were far different. Miller used a number of texts to prove the significance of time periods. Miller showed how prophecies are repeated in different books of the Bible and how one chapter explains details not found in other chapters. Miller also made use of the stories those prophecies are recorded in to gain an understanding of what the prophecies pointed to.

Since this book is based on using the sequence recorded in the Bible, I can see another consideration of those materials used in that statue in Daniel. The materials follow a similar pattern to the materials used in the Tabernacle. The head of the statue was made of fine gold. Its chest and arms were silver, its belly and thighs were bronze, its legs were iron, and its feet were a combination of iron and baked clay. (Daniel 2:32-33 NLTse).

The inner part of the Tabernacle consists of gold and silver. Bronze is used in the courtyard. We haven’t seen iron or clay used in the design of the Tabernacle. As we go further away from the Most Holy, we move from gold, to silver, then bronze. The statue in Daniel concerned a time prophecy. Gold represented Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom, Babylon. Silver represented the Persian empire, bronze the Greek empire, and iron the Roman empire.

Now look at the materials in that statue in relationship to the influence and timing of God’s Word and communication with this world. Prophets like Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah were sent during Babylon’s reign as a world kingdom. The Persian empire saw a group of prophets that included Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, and others. How many prophets did the next kingdom of bronze see? None. The Greek empire introduced the Greek translation of the Old Testament which was distributed throughout the known world. Two major factions sprang up, Greek and Hebrew theologians. Each were divided into many sub groups and cultures. The two main groups battled over the right to translate symbols in the Bible. Both groups agreed the Bible contained hidden meanings, but couldn’t agree on what they pointed to. Both groups missed the true meaning of scripture, the Messiah and plan of salvation those stories and symbols pointed to.

This all was a reminder not to place trust in men. Hundreds and maybe thousands of the greatest and most trusted minds in the world at that time pumped out interpretations faster than popcorn in hot oil, but not one of them was true. Not one of those men understood the plan of salvation.

That brings us to the forth world kingdom. The one represented by iron, a material not found in the Tabernacle. Neither was any of the philosophy preached and accepted at that time. Hebrews focused in on one type of Messiah, for a large part, they agreed upon. Greeks took a left turn concentrating on a mixture of Old Testament theology, the philosophy Greek religion was founded on, and nature, elements, and astrology. That was the kingdom of iron, a mixture of elements that had nothing to do with the plan of salvation the Tabernacle pointed to.

Jesus came to this world and angels were amazed no one knew. The Bible tells us about two prophets who met Jesus when He was dedicated in the temple. In addition to that, we’re told about a few wise men who saw a star in the sky and knew enough from the Old Testament to know something was happening, a King was about to be born. The rest of the world was in the dark because they lacked the personal relationship with God and His Spirit to understand scripture and God’s timing. The world relied on men of wisdom and failed.

This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength. Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God. (1 Corinthians 1:25-29 NLTse).

As we progress to the toes on that statue, we see how fractured the world really is. They consist of a mixture of iron and clay. Most people accept the interpretation those toes represent a type of division. But little does the world know, nor accept the fact, no where does the Bible mention a single word about ten toes. But twice the Bible pointed out twelve toes. See 2 Samuel 21 and 1 Chronicles 20. Now when we look at twelve toes, we have a few items to compare them to. Jacob had twelve sons. Their names were worn by the high priest. There were also twelve disciples Jesus called. What do twelve toes represent?

Most people like to tell a story someone made up about Rome and the ten nations that represented that kingdom. Historians say Rome consisted of about forty six countries during it’s reign as a world. Those countries have since divided into about eighty five self governed countries, and some of those countries are still subdividing today. Who came up with that interpretation claiming Rome consisted of only ten countries? I don’t know about you, but either those people are wrong, or they are telling us God forgot a few. Correct me if I’m wrong, but if those toes represent the last days, wouldn’t God provide an accurate count if those toes did represent modern day countries?

What avenues do twelve toes open up? When we compare the number of divisions to the family system recorded in the Bible, and the team of disciples Jesus started out with, we open doors to a spiritual interpretation pointing back to Genesis and Exodus, which is where our attention should be focused, on God’s Word, not the world. When we look to the world for answers, based on history, we stand a 99% or better chance of being wrong. God recorded over three hundred prophecies about His Son. How many of them did the Hebrews and Greeks get right?

Medallion of Pure Gold

Exodus 28:36-38 NLTse “Next make a medallion of pure gold, and engrave it like a seal with these words: HOLY TO THE LORD. (37) Attach the medallion with a blue cord to the front of Aaron’s turban, where it must remain. (38) Aaron must wear it on his forehead so he may take on himself any guilt of the people of Israel when they consecrate their sacred offerings. He must always wear it on his forehead so the LORD will accept the people.

All I can say is, stick to the plan. Follow the order God recorded those items and symbols, and wait for God to reveal each one. Otherwise, we are joining the world by jumping around out of sequence, order, and control.

Once again, it appears Moses is out of sequence. We haven’t see any details about the turban. It hasn’t been mentioned since verse 4, and Moses hasn’t described it yet. The turban is a type of hat worn on the head. Here Moses is describing a medallion made of pure gold Aaron attached to the turban. Some how that medallion took on the guilt of the people. What guilt? Was it guilt from sins, or guilt from turning down God’s offer to be a kingdom or priests. We can’t be sure at this point.


Exodus 28:39-43 NLTse “Weave Aaron’s patterned tunic from fine linen cloth. Fashion the turban from this linen as well. Also make a sash, and decorate it with colorful embroidery. (40) “For Aaron’s sons, make tunics, sashes, and special head coverings that are glorious and beautiful. (41) Clothe

your brother, Aaron, and his sons with these garments, and then anoint and ordain them. Consecrate them so they can serve as my priests. (42) Also make linen undergarments for them, to be worn next to their bodies, reaching from their hips to their thighs. (43) These must be worn whenever Aaron and his sons enter the Tabernacle or approach the altar in the Holy Place to perform their priestly duties. Then they will not incur guilt and die. This is a permanent law for Aaron and all his descendants after him.

It may appear Moses is adding another piece of clothing to the list. But the sentences that follow mirror the introduction. The first few sentences introduce items of clothing Aaron wore. The last few sum up the list. This is another important Bible Study tool known and the rule of introductions and summations. When the Bible was subdivided into chapters and verses, chapters contained the same key thought, or lesson. The beginning of each chapter introduced the main theme. The end or of each chapter summed up the lesson or story. This pattern is consistent throughout the Bible. But sometimes the introduction and summation are contrasts. They look at the lesson or story using different aspects. Which showed how God takes a balanced look at each subject. Something we often fail to do. Many of the lessons in scripture are taught using contrasts. It is something to watch for and learn from. Many people have a difficult time understanding the Bible because they’ve been taught to look at contrasts as contradictions. Which is another reason not to trust too many people when it comes to studying and understanding salvation.

Moses also provided a brief description of the garments made for Aaron’s sons. One feature sticks out. They’re supposed to wear a type of underwear worn next to the skin. This may not seem unusual except for the closing statement in this chapter. These must be worn whenever Aaron and his sons enter the Tabernacle or approach the altar in the Holy Place to perform their priestly duties. Then they will not incur guilt and die. This is a permanent law for Aaron and all his descendants after him. Since when does wearing undergarments save a life? In this case it does. Moses didn’t tells us why. He was just following directions from God.

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Chapter 13 Courtyard Curtains

Posted by Ez1 Realty on September 4, 2016

Exodus 27:9-21 NLTse “Then make the courtyard for the Tabernacle, enclosed with curtains made of finely woven linen. On the south side, make the curtains 150 feet long. (10) They will be held up by twenty posts set securely in twenty bronze bases. Hang the curtains with silver hooks and rings. (11) Make the curtains the same on the north side–150 feet of curtains held up by twenty posts set securely in bronze bases. Hang the curtains with silver hooks and rings. (12) The curtains on the west end of the courtyard will be 75 feet long, supported by ten posts set into ten bases. (13) The east end of the courtyard, the front, will also be 75 feet long. (14) The courtyard entrance will be on the east end, flanked by two curtains. The curtain on the right side will be 22 feet long, supported by three posts set into three bases. (15) The curtain on the left side will also be 22 feet long, supported by three posts set into three bases. (16) “For the entrance to the courtyard, make a curtain that is 30 feet long. Make it from finely woven linen, and decorate it with beautiful embroidery in blue, purple, and scarlet thread. Support it with four posts, each securely set in its own base. (17) All the posts around the courtyard must have silver rings and hooks and bronze bases. (18) So the entire courtyard will be 150 feet long and 75 feet wide, with curtain walls 7 feet high, made from finely woven linen. The bases for the posts will be made of bronze. (19) “All the articles used in the rituals of the Tabernacle, including all the tent pegs used to support the Tabernacle and the courtyard curtains, must be made of bronze. (20) “Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to keep the lamps burning continually. (21) The lampstand will stand in the Tabernacle, in front of the inner curtain that shields the Ark of the Covenant. Aaron and his sons must keep the lamps burning in the LORD’s presence all night. This is a permanent law for the people of Israel, and it must be observed from generation to generation.

It seems there is a consistent lack of information Moses failed to record. His description for each item included information on details such as size, color, and materials, but no where does Moses record detailed features. We don’t know what designs on the curtains actually looked like. We don’t know how the Ark was joined at the corners, how large the cherubim were, how they looked, or what they wore. We don’t have any idea what the silver bases at the entrance of the Tabernacle looked like, how much they weight, or how they were cast. We know they must have been of sufficient weight to support the uprights, with a base wide enough to hold up against winds. We have to ask why certain details were included, and why others were omitted.

It would have been nice to have a detailed set of plans such as drawings that listed the size, materials, colors and patterns. But Moses provided nothing of the kind. People working on each part of the Tabernacle had to listen to Moses as he guided them along every step of the process, explaining all the minor details from memory.

It would be nice to know what those curtains actually looked like. By the description given here, we can’t be sure if they are white with blue, purple, and scarlet patterns sown in, or solid colors, using the other two colors for patterns. Thus far, Moses hasn’t provided enough details for anyone to duplicate a model of the Tabernacle. Some people will disagree with that statement, but examine Moses’ record thus far. He didn’t record enough information to duplicate every detail in the Tabernacle.

Why do you think Moses followed this pattern? He was not only shown the pattern for the Tabernacle, he was told which details to record. This is a reminder Israel decided to tell Moses to talk to God then come back and tell them what He said. Moses is not going to give them the full story. They gave up that right when they turned down God’s offer.

We see the same thing happening today. People don’t want to read the Bible. They want someone to read the Bible for them, then give a brief summary of what God says. The world can’t see they are drifting away from God because it has become part of human nature. I wonder how many people read some of those best selling books like, Looking Out For Number One, and other self help, self examination, and self made success books. Movies about the Bible can draw millions to theaters. I’d like to take a survey to find out how many of those people read through the Bible.

It’s not hard to tell a Christian whose never read the Bible from one who has. Christians who never read the Bible will often have one or two pet peeves they complain about, and feel like they earn their way into Heaven by telling the world what bothers them. I refer to them as six shooters. If anything, they have about six proof texts they’ve memorized. They look at those texts as an answer to everything. In a debate, they use up their proof texts in a minute.

People who constantly read the Bible answer questions in a different way. When using scripture, they relate the entire story to a situation or debate. Unlike the six shooter who quickly runs out of ammunition, they dwell deeper and deeper into the stories, drawing on details supporting scripture they started with.

The lesson Moses taught still focuses on lessons God gave Israel to prepare them for the priesthood. God showed them a contrast by showing them how much they gave up. Moses had to rely on God to tell him what was under that gold. Moses had to listen, learn details about each piece, which details to share, and which who to share them with. A barrier was placed between man and God, and God was setting the limits of that barrier. As usual, when God established a new pattern, it included multiple lessons.

Moses gave us the basic size if the curtains and the courtyard. There are no details telling how wide or tall the posts were. Moses also omitted the exact dimensions for the bronze bases and those silver hooks and rings. No one could fabricate any one of those pieces based on the information Moses recorded. Did you notice how Moses repeated the details he recorded, but refused to add to them?

Moses had to make the point, God is still in control. Based on their reaction to His offer and the direction they were heading, God knew He had to take them back to lesson number one, and teach the first lesson shown to Pharaoh. God has control over the serpent.

God provided details down to the tent pegs. Then God gave a command. “Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to keep the lamps burning continually. The lampstand will stand in the Tabernacle, in front of the inner curtain that shields the Ark of the Covenant. Aaron and his sons must keep the lamps burning in the LORD’s presence all night. This is a permanent law for the people of Israel, and it must be observed from generation to generation.”

God began to introduce an order of service to the Tabernacle. This is where the Tabernacle gets a little strange and we’re faced with a decision. We can either jump ahead to a few details Moses seems to have forgotten, or give Moses the benefit of doubt that he was instructed to follow a particular order when he wrote this book.

Moses was told to observe those instructions from generation to generation. Did God give an expiration date? Eventually the lampstand disappeared along with other items in the Tabernacle including the Ark. Why? It’s tempting to jump ahead. But I am convinced we need to follow the course God laid out in His book. One interesting verse I found to exemplify this point is another Psalm. Your throne is established of old; You are from everlasting. (Psalms 93:2 MKJV). The Hebrew word David used for everlasting means, concealed, or generally time out of mind. David described God as beyond our comprehension. After looking at what Israel did to God, that shouldn’t surprise us. How many people still refuse to talk to God, or don’t believe God talks to us. Generally they seem to want to convince the world, God doesn’t hear us. Or God doesn’t answer. It falls back to the same mentality seen in Eden. After Eve ate that fruit, she had something Adam didn’t. That was part of what drove Adam to eat the fruit. In her own imagination, hopes, and fear, Eve thought she could fix the problem by returning Adam to her equal. Something in Adam couldn’t stand to see Eve have something he didn’t. Making each other equals seemed to be the easy solution, but created another mess. The first lesson God taught in the garden was, sin upset the entire balance in Heaven. It makes people want to have more than others, prove their better, gain an advantage over people. We don’t have to look far into this world to see the effects of sin.

This world is one big cesspool of competition. People compete in sports, jobs, wealth, relationships, and wars. We compete to win, for money, love, land, power, fame and glory. This world preaches competition from birth. We’ve made competition a major past time, prerequisite for employment, and a necessity in religion. Oh yes, religions are geared to compete. They have to. It is the way of the world. It’s how to attract the most members and their money. Listen to how they present arguments to get your money. They present a picture of a balance between blessings and giving. They are the recipient, and your the person blessed. It’s a system churches copied from the competitive business world.

Churches seem to have forgotten how someone summed up the law. Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?” The man answered, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!” (Luke 10:26-28 NLTse).

Have you ever thought about how to love God with all your mind? Was Israel a good example of that when they turned down God’s offer to be priests? What does it take to love God with all your mind today? Does it take a one minute prayer? Church twice a year? A few coins in a kettle around Christmas time? I’m only asking about the mind phase of the question. I’m not asking about any of the physical aspects. What does it take for a mind to love God? What does it take for a mind to fall in love?

What produces that physical change inside a person that makes them think about the person they fell in love with? That feeling they can’t escape every moment they’re awake. What triggers your mind to fall in love? What keeps that love alive and growing over the years. What causes the pain inside when you suddenly loose someone you love?

When David described God, he also described His love as everlasting and eternal. Something beyond our comprehension. If God’s love is beyond our comprehension, isn’t the pain He felt when Israel rejected Him just as strong, eternal, and beyond our imagination?

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Chapter 11 The Separating Curtain

Posted by Ez1 Realty on June 20, 2016

Exodus 26:31-37 NLTse “For the inside of the Tabernacle, make a special curtain of finely woven linen. Decorate it with blue, purple, and scarlet thread and with skillfully embroidered cherubim. (32) Hang this curtain on gold hooks attached to four posts of acacia wood. Overlay the posts with gold, and set them in four silver bases. (33) Hang the inner curtain from clasps, and put the Ark of the Covenant in the room behind it. This curtain will separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. (34) “Then put the Ark’s cover–the place of atonement–on top of the Ark of the Covenant inside the Most Holy Place. (35) Place the table outside the inner curtain on the north side of the Tabernacle, and place the lampstand across the room on the south side. (36) “Make another curtain for the entrance to the sacred tent. Make it of finely woven linen and embroider it with exquisite designs, using blue, purple, and scarlet thread. (37) Craft five posts from acacia wood. Overlay them with gold, and hang the curtain from them with gold hooks. Cast five bronze bases for the posts.

Inside the Tabernacle a special curtain was hung between four pole or columns. Gold hooks attached the curtain to the columns. This curtain made a separation between the Holy and Most Holy compartments. The Most Holy contained the Ark of the Covenant. The first room contained the table, placed in the north side, and lampstand on the south side.

Another curtain was made to cover the entrance of the Tabernacle hung in the same manner as the curtain used to separate the Holy from the Most Holy. Moses didn’t mention anything about cherubim or angles on the curtain over the entrance. But Moses did say it had exquisite designs. All of those curtains were made of the finest linen.

Now we have a better picture of the inside of the Tabernacle. One set of linen curtains decorated with blue, purple, and scarlet thread with images of angels covered the back and both sides. That was the north, south, and western walls. The curtains on the north and south walls went from the the Most Holy into the Holy room. They showed a connecting element between the two. A support structure shared the same connection. A portion of those gold covered boards could be seen inside the Holy and Most Holy compartments.

A special curtain was made to separate the Holy room from the Most Holy. It was similar in design to the curtains along the three sides, except it was connected to four gold covered wooden pillars by gold hooks. The curtain covering the entrance on the east side were the same colors as the other curtains but Moses didn’t describe any angels on that curtain. It was also attached to pillars by gold hooks.

Silver bases were also visible inside the Tabernacle. They were used to hold up the walls and the columns supporting the separating curtain and curtain covering the entrance. The columns supporting the curtain at the entrance were held up by bronze bases.

When looking up, gold can be seen. Along the ground, silver bases. At the entrance of the Tabernacle, gold covered columns were supported by bronze bases. At this point we don’t want to assume what those materials represent, or why they are used in their particular locations. When it comes time to examine symbolism, we have to remember this is a pattern of the Tabernacle Moses saw in Heaven.

The Tabernacle is a mixture of splendor and simplicity. It features precious metals of gold, silver, and bronze. Materials mentioned and used as symbols throughout the Bible. The Tabernacle Moses build was a copy of the Heavenly Sanctuary where Jesus judges this world. The book of Hebrews compares details of the Tabernacle and Sanctuary. One of the most interesting points in that comparison is the movement of one piece of furniture from one location to another. Strange as it may seem, Moses was not yet shown that alter. For some reason, God followed His pattern of placing details in His particular order. At this point, it is best to follow the pattern as Moses was shown and just as he recorded it.

When we stray from God’s pattern, we may think we are doing Him a service. But we’ve seen how that turned out with Sarah and some of the other women. We may ask why God offered the priesthood to Israel before they were ready. To answer that question, we have to gain a more complete understanding of the priesthood and how they were to represent God in their ministry. We can’t do that by jumping around from chapter to chapter and book to book. We have to follow God’s sequence and pattern. If we followed the usual method of study some people use, we most likely will miss details. When we stray away from God’s sequence, we are guaranteed to miss lessons locked away in the course Moses dictated.

Since the Tabernacle is also a pattern of Jesus’ ministry, in Heaven as well as in this world, we hope to learn secrets not yet revealed. There are specific procedures the priests had to follow when ministering in the Tabernacle. Are those reflections on Jesus’ ministry, our role as His representatives, or both? Since those steps were recorded for us to learn from, wouldn’t those records showing the view Moses saw in Heaven be just as, or more important?

Posted in Bible Study Aids, Bible Study Methods Explained, Bible Study with Context, Christian Books, Simple Studies, Tabernacle | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Chapter 5 Preparing for the Tabernacle

Posted by Ez1 Realty on June 4, 2016

  • Chapter 5 Preparing for the Tabernacle

    • Bring Your Offerings

      Exodus 25:1-9 NLTse The LORD said to Moses, (2) “Tell the people of Israel to bring me their sacred offerings. Accept the contributions from all whose hearts are moved to offer them. (3) Here is a list of sacred offerings you may accept from them: gold, silver, and bronze; (4) blue, purple, and scarlet thread; fine linen and goat hair for cloth; (5) tanned ram skins and fine goatskin leather; acacia wood; (6) olive oil for the lamps; spices for the anointing oil and the fragrant incense; (7) onyx stones, and other gemstones to be set in the ephod and the priest’s chestpiece. (8) “Have the people of Israel build me a holy sanctuary so I can live among them. (9) You must build this Tabernacle and its furnishings exactly according to the pattern I will show you.

      Obviously, the first step in any building project is to collect material. That’s where God told Moses to begin. I’ve covered details on those building material’s in a previous book, The Tabernacle: “T” is for the Cross. I am not going to review a lot of details of that book which covered the building materials and construction of the Tabernacle from an engineering prospective. That book is available for download on the Internet.

      To understand the scene, we have to look at how the previous chapter ended. Then Moses climbed up the mountain, and the cloud covered it. And the glory of the LORD settled down on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days. On the seventh day the LORD called to Moses from inside the cloud. To the Israelites at the foot of the mountain, the glory of the LORD appeared at the summit like a consuming fire. Then Moses disappeared into the cloud as he climbed higher up the mountain. He remained on the mountain forty days and forty nights. (Exodus 24:15-18 NLTse).

      Moses went up the mountain to meet with God. That tells us why chapter 25 began with God telling Moses what to do. The first step was to collect material for the project. All of the materials were to be contributed by the people. This shows us how God’s Spirit was working before God revealed any of the plans for the Tabernacle to Moses. Since we looked at how all the building materials to create this world were in place before God shed light on the subject, we can see how God arranged for Israel to carry every item required for the Tabernacle out of Egypt.

      We have to look deeper into that story. Almost every person who left with Moses was a slave in Egypt. There were a few people who left because of all the plagues and miracles they saw, but we have no way of determining exact numbers. That’s not our concern. We can be assured, God had everything under control.

      Moses used the words, Tell the people of Israel to bring me their sacred offerings.” Israel represents those people enslaved in Egypt based on the prophecy given to Abraham. Then the LORD said to Abram, “You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years. But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they will come away with great wealth. (Genesis 15:13-14 NLTse).

      We now have a spiritual puzzle to solve. It’s easy to see the lesson on the surface. People leaving Egypt represented people freed from bondage. That’s the easy part. But here were told, all the materials required to build the Tabernacle came out of bondage. What does that mean? How does it apply to the Tabernacle and our roles in the plan of salvation?

      First of all, we see Israel had to work for 400 years for the materials they carried out. We should stick to the facts on the surface, simple details about those years of bondage that have been reviewed hundreds of times. Sure that bondage represents our life and time here on this world. Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. (John 8:34 NLTse). So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding. (Hebrews 6:1-3 NLTse).

      How do we determine the spiritual significance of those items taken out of Egypt? We know the Tabernacle is a model of the Heavenly Sanctuary. And we know the Heavenly Sanctuary does not contain any materials from this world. Hebrews tells us the clear distinction between the Tabernacle and the Heavenly Sanctuary.

      This is an illustration pointing to the present time. For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them. For that old system deals only with food and drink and various cleansing ceremonies–physical regulations that were in effect only until a better system could be established. So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. With his own blood–not the blood of goats and calves–he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever. (Hebrews 9:9-12 NLTse).

      The Tabernacle Moses built pointed to the perfect Heavenly Tabernacle and its system. The old Tabernacle passed away, pointing to the passing away of sins and eventual cleansing of this world. Those materials taken from Egypt were never intended to be a permanent structure or place of worship.

      Some of those materials Moses was told to collect were different than materials in Heaven. We’ve not told about tanned ram skins and fine goatskin leather in God’s Sanctuary. Those were symbols to remind us what went into the Tabernacle built on this world. They reminded people of the sacrifices that had to be made. The sacrifices that began the day sin entered this world, and God fashioned clothing from animal skins for Adam and Eve. Death is a product of sin and God used a number of ways to keep that reminder in front of us. It was important for God to make sure we didn’t forget the cost of sin. “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NLTse).

      Take a closer look at the order of materials God gave to Moses. He began with gold, silver, and bronze; then moved to blue, purple, and scarlet thread; fine linen and goat hair for cloth; tanned ram skins and fine goatskin leather; acacia wood; He finally added, olive oil for the lamps; spices for the anointing oil and the fragrant incense. God moved from materials that lasted the longest time, to items we consider consumable. God used a designed progression hoping we would notice the process locked away in the list of materials.

      Then God went out of what we would consider a progressive order into a new spiritual order; onyx stones, and other gemstones to be set in the ephod and the priest’s chestpiece. When we follow the specific order God gave Moses, we have to ask, why did God list those last? Are they the materials that were consumed the quickest? On the physical view, no. On the spiritual view, yes.

      Long before the Tabernacle was lost in the pages of the Bible and replaced by a stone temple, materials used in the chestpiece, or high priest’s breastplate lost their significance, power, and symbolic meaning. Later we will look into more details about the breastplate. A slight understanding of the history of the breastplate and Israel will show a few clues. People like king Saul tried to misuse the breastplate. At that time it was taken away from Saul and delivered to David. At times it seemed to be forgotten. The breastplate was used as a form of communication with God. It also contained twelve stones, one for each of Israel’s twelve tribes. After king Solomon, the kingdom was split. Little was mentioned about the breastplate after that. On a spiritual level, the breastplate was lost before services ceased inside the Tabernacle.

      God made certain Moses built the Tabernacle and its furnishings exactly according to the pattern he was shown. Moses saw a pattern of the Heavenly Sanctuary and made a copy of it on this world. It was important not to miss a single detail, so Moses, Israel, and everyone after them would not miss a single detail about Christ and His ministry here in this world and in Heaven.

      One of the things we’ve learned about God’s Word, is how much we learn by looking back. That’s the best way to understand the emotions and trials involved in getting from one phase to the next. To gain and better understanding of those materials, we can go all the way back to the point Moses began the process of freeing those slaves from Egypt.

      Another important part of this story tells about the materials Israel took out of Egypt. Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will strike Pharaoh and the land of Egypt with one more blow. After that, Pharaoh will let you leave this country. In fact, he will be so eager to get rid of you that he will force you all to leave. Tell all the Israelite men and women to ask their Egyptian neighbors for articles of silver and gold.” (Now the LORD had caused the Egyptians to look favorably on the people of Israel. And Moses was considered a very great man in the land of Egypt, respected by Pharaoh’s officials and the Egyptian people alike.) (Exodus 11:1-3 NLTse).

      Moses didn’t record many details about the materials Israel collected from the Egyptians. The strange thing about this event is, this is the first and only time Moses told the people to collect things from previous owners. Moses told Israel what they were supposed to do before he talked to Pharaoh about the last plague, the death of the firstborn. This showed Israel, God knew the outcome before it occurred.

      Imagine all the different attitudes the Egyptians faced. Some Israelites did as Moses commanded and asked for anything the Egyptians wanted to freely give. Others demanded, and a few viewed the situation as a chance for revenge. God said, He would make the Egyptians look favorably on the Israelites. But what about the Israelites? Were they prepared to treat the Egyptians with any type of respect?

      The KJV used the word borrow, instead of the word ask. In a sense, that’s all they did was borrow everything. Generations later, every piece of gold and silver used in the temple returned to Egypt. In the fifth year of King Rehoboam’s reign, King Shishak of Egypt came up and attacked Jerusalem. He ransacked the treasuries of the LORD’s Temple and the royal palace; he stole everything, including all the gold shields Solomon had made. (1 Kings 14:25-26 NLTse). It appears the KJV didn’t use the word borrow by accident.

      Another thing I noticed about that event. Moses had to only tell them once. That was one of the few times Moses didn’t have to repeat himself. There’s something about that fact that should worry us. But the event is found in other parts of Exodus and once in Genesis.

      And the people of Israel did as Moses had instructed; they asked the Egyptians for clothing and articles of silver and gold. The LORD caused the Egyptians to look favorably on the Israelites, and they gave the Israelites whatever they asked for. So they stripped the Egyptians of their wealth!(Exodus 12:35-36 NLTse).

      Moses didn’t have to repeat himself or remind them to go door to door asking for things. It was sort of payment for their entire lives as slaves. Israel knew their parents and grandparents were slaves. They didn’t feel they could carry enough to pay for multiple life times of slavery. How would you feel spending your entire life as a slave, and seeing your parents die as slave? Then a day comes along and it’s pay back time. It’s amazing Moses didn’t record anything about Egyptians loosing their lives that day. Something restrained them. The thought of being a priest was sinking in. Hearing screams and cries from across the field all night softened their hearts. God had the right timing in every detail.

      So I will raise my hand and strike the Egyptians, performing all kinds of miracles among them. Then at last he will let you go. And I will cause the Egyptians to look favorably on you. They will give you gifts when you go so you will not leave empty-handed. Every Israelite woman will ask for articles of silver and gold and fine clothing from her Egyptian neighbors and from the foreign women in their houses. You will dress your sons and daughters with these, stripping the Egyptians of their wealth.”

      (Exodus 3:20-22 NLTse)

      This must have been an important event if it was recorded so many times. One of the purposes it served is teach Moses to look back to see how his faith had grown over time. This is something Moses had to teach Israel to do to properly prepare them for the priesthood. Moses didn’t record many details that happened behind the scenes. That’s something we have to approach God’s throne to learn more about. That is one way our faith is formed and sealed. Moses often spoke directly with God. That’s a lesson we need to pay attention to. As we approach God’s throne to listen to His detailed account of what happened behind the recorded story, He explains details in scripture we would never see without His guidance. Which is one step Israel had to learn to become an effective kingdom made up of priests for God.

      The same applies today. How can we become an effective army on God’s side if we don’t listen to orders, or we don’t know the order God uses? We learn about that order in the same way God instructed Moses when He told him to look back and review the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. If we’re smart, we’ll see keys pointing us back even further. That’s how God links the past to the present to prepare us for the future.

      Looking at the order of the texts, we see how God prepared Moses. God gave Moses the answer, then later, when Moses needed a boost in faith, reminded him to look back. God does the same with us. God communicates with us the same way He communicated with Moses. God sends us back to review stories in scripture. When we listen, God explains how those stories apply to our lives at that moment. We see how past lessons and events apply to the problems and decisions we face. In this case, the pattern also showed how God made a teacher out of Moses. He had a message to give Israel. One of those lessons included, how to communicate and rely directly on God and how God uses stories from the past to answer questions and guide us on the next step. Everything hinged on direct communication with God. If Israel was going to be ready to accept the priesthood, they had to put away every aspect of the form of religion they were leaving and learn God’s method of worship.

      For Israel, that began with listening to God’s Spirit as they collected every item to manufacture and complete the Tabernacle. God would reinforce that lesson when they looked back to realize what they accomplished without knowing the end result. God’s order was, collect the materials, give the design, then show the people how they served God without leaving out a single detail. It was a lesson showing Israel how to rely on God.

      Man’s way would have been far different. Men would have changed God’s order and totally missed the spiritual lesson. Men would have finalized the design, shared the design with everyone, made a list of materials required, then sent people out to collect every item on the list. We’ve seen how God’s order at creation was different then men would have followed. We’ve also seen the order God used for those plagues was different than men would have expected to follow. God’s plans not only worked, they accomplished much more than any man could have planned. They also locked away spiritual lessons designed for generations to look back on and learn from.

      Then the LORD said to Abram, “You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years. But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they will come away with great wealth.

      (Genesis 15:13-14 NLTse)

      God shared His plans with Abraham, who didn’t really understand too many of the details. He had to accept what he was given and apply it to his life. Future generations would look on this prophecy and see more and more details revealed. That was God’s plan which always extends much further and teaches more than anyone could imagine. That is a part of faith few people consider. We have to accept the fact, prophecy is designed to reach one generation on one level, another generation on another level, be fulfilled in one generation, and teach lessons of varying degrees to future generations. To say or think we know everything about a prophecy is to limit, or eliminate God’s Spirit from the process. Common sense should tell you, removing God’s Spirit from a prophecy is a return to the type of priesthood Israel was told to leave behind.

    • Plans for the Tabernacle

      One of the most interesting and important details about the Tabernacle is how every piece was described not once, but at least twice. You must build this Tabernacle and its furnishings exactly according to the pattern I will show you. (Exodus 25:9 NLTse).

      Exodus 25:10-22 NLTse “Have the people make an Ark of acacia wood–a sacred chest 45 inches long, 27 inches wide, and 27 inches high. (11) Overlay it inside and outside with pure gold, and run a molding of gold all around it. (12) Cast four gold rings and attach them to its four feet, two rings on each side. (13) Make poles from acacia wood, and overlay them with gold. (14) Insert the poles into the rings at the sides of the Ark to carry it. (15) These carrying poles must stay inside the rings; never remove them. (16) When the Ark is finished, place inside it the stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, which I will give to you. (17) “Then make the Ark’s cover–the place of atonement–from pure gold. It must be 45 inches long and 27 inches wide. (18) Then make two cherubim from hammered gold, and place them on the two ends of the atonement cover. (19) Mold the cherubim on each end of the atonement cover, making it all of one piece of gold. (20) The cherubim will face each other and look down on the atonement cover. With their wings spread above it, they will protect it. (21) Place inside the Ark the stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, which I will give to you. Then put the atonement cover on top of the Ark. (22) I will meet with you there and talk to you from above the atonement cover between the gold cherubim that hover over the Ark of the Covenant. From there I will give you my commands for the people of Israel.

      Exodus 37:1-15 NLTse Next Bezalel made the Ark of acacia wood–a sacred chest 45 inches long, 27 inches wide, and 27 inches high. (2) He overlaid it inside and outside with pure gold, and he ran a molding of gold all around it. (3) He cast four gold rings and attached them to its four feet, two rings on each side. (4) Then he made poles from acacia wood and overlaid them with gold. (5) He inserted the poles into the rings at the sides of the Ark to carry it. (6) Then he made the Ark’s cover–the place of atonement–from pure gold. It was 45 inches long and 27 inches wide. (7) He made two cherubim from hammered gold and placed them on the two ends of the atonement cover. (8) He molded the cherubim on each end of the atonement cover, making it all of one piece of gold. (9) The cherubim faced each other and looked down on the atonement cover. With their wings spread above it, they protected it. (10) Then Bezalel made the table of acacia wood, 36 inches long, 18 inches wide, and 27 inches high. (11) He overlaid it with pure gold and ran a gold molding around the edge. (12) He decorated it with a 3-inch border all around, and he ran a gold molding along the border. (13) Then he cast four gold rings for the table and attached them at the four corners next to the four legs. (14) The rings were attached near the border to hold the poles that were used to carry the table. (15) He made these poles from acacia wood and overlaid them with gold.

      Exodus 25:23-28 NLTse “Then make a table of acacia wood, 36 inches long, 18 inches wide, and 27 inches high. (24) Overlay it with pure gold and run a gold molding around the edge. (25) Decorate it with a 3-inch border all around, and run a gold molding along the border. (26) Make four gold rings for the table and attach them at the four corners next to the four legs. (27) Attach the rings near the border to hold the poles that are used to carry the table. (28) Make these poles from acacia wood, and overlay them with gold.

      Exodus 37:10-15 NLTse Then Bezalel made the table of acacia wood, 36 inches long, 18 inches wide, and 27 inches high. (11) He overlaid it with pure gold and ran a gold molding around the edge. (12) He decorated it with a 3-inch border all around, and he ran a gold molding along the border. (13) Then he cast four gold rings for the table and attached them at the four corners next to the four legs. (14) The rings were attached near the border to hold the poles that were used to carry the table. (15) He made these poles from acacia wood and overlaid them with gold.

      Exodus 25:29-30 NLTse Make special containers of pure gold for the table–bowls, pans, pitchers, and jars–to be used in pouring out liquid offerings. (30) Place the Bread of the Presence on the table to remain before me at all times.

      Exodus 37:16 NLTse Then he made special containers of pure gold for the table–bowls, pans, jars, and pitchers–to be used in pouring out liquid offerings.

      Exodus 25:31-40 NLTse “Make a lampstand of pure, hammered gold. Make the entire lampstand and its decorations of one piece–the base, center stem, lamp cups, buds, and petals. (32) Make it with six branches going out from the center stem, three on each side. (33) Each of the six branches will have three lamp cups shaped like almond blossoms, complete with buds and petals. (34) Craft the center stem of the lampstand with four lamp cups shaped like almond blossoms, complete with buds and petals. (35) There will also be an almond bud beneath each pair of branches where the six branches extend from the center stem. (36) The almond buds and branches must all be of one piece with the center stem, and they must be hammered from pure gold. (37) Then make the seven lamps for the lampstand, and set them so they reflect their light forward. (38) The lamp snuffers and trays must also be made of pure gold. (39) You will need seventy-five pounds of pure gold for the lampstand and its accessories. (40) “Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain.

      Exodus 37:17-24 NLTse Then Bezalel made the lampstand of pure, hammered gold. He made the entire lampstand and its decorations of one piece–the base, center stem, lamp cups, buds, and petals. (18) The lampstand had six branches going out from the center stem, three on each side. (19) Each of the six branches had three lamp cups shaped like almond blossoms, complete with buds and petals. (20) The center stem of the lampstand was crafted with four lamp cups shaped like almond blossoms, complete with buds and petals. (21) There was an almond bud beneath each pair of branches where the six branches extended from the center stem, all made of one piece. (22) The almond buds and branches were all of one piece with the center stem, and they were hammered from pure gold. (23) He also made seven lamps for the lampstand, lamp snuffers, and trays, all of pure gold. (24) The entire lampstand, along with its accessories, was made from seventy-five pounds of pure gold.

      The list goes on and on. The Tabernacle is the most detailed structure in the Bible containing more symbols than any other item in the Bible. Why did God go into such detail and repeat those details? As we’ve seen, authors repeat details to draw attention to them. After all, the Tabernacle is a symbol of God’s Son and His ministry. They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. For when Moses was getting ready to build the Tabernacle, God gave him this warning: “Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain.” (Hebrews 8:5 NLTse). The Book of Hebrews serves as a guide to symbols in the Tabernacle.

      Hebrews 9:1-12 NLTse That first covenant between God and Israel had regulations for worship and a place of worship here on earth. (2) There were two rooms in that Tabernacle. In the first room were a lampstand, a table, and sacred loaves of bread on the table. This room was called the Holy Place. (3) Then there was a curtain, and behind the curtain was the second room called the Most Holy Place. (4) In that room were a gold incense altar and a wooden chest called the Ark of the Covenant, which was covered with gold on all sides. Inside the Ark were a gold jar containing manna, Aaron’s staff that sprouted leaves, and the stone tablets of the covenant. (5) Above the Ark were the cherubim of divine glory, whose wings stretched out over the Ark’s cover, the place of atonement. But we cannot explain these things in detail now. (6) When these things were all in place, the priests regularly entered the first room as they performed their religious duties. (7) But only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. And he always offered blood for his own sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. (8) By these regulations the Holy Spirit revealed that the entrance to the Most Holy Place was not freely open as long as the Tabernacle and the system it represented were still in use. (9) This is an illustration pointing to the present time. For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them. (10) For that old system deals only with food and drink and various cleansing ceremonies–physical regulations that were in effect only until a better system could be established. (11) So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. (12) With his own blood–not the blood of goats and calves–he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.

      There’s no doubt, the design of the Tabernacle God gave to Moses was a model of the Heavenly Sanctuary, services conducted in Heaven, and Jesus’ ministry all rolled into one. In short, the Tabernacle is a model of the plan of salvation. The question is, where do we begin? There is a strong urge to jump ahead, or around from subject to subject, or symbol to symbol. Looking at what has been accumulated so far would lead us to believe, God had a good reason to repeat the order of the items in the Tabernacle, as well as the details. We’ve also seen the same process and order used at creation. We’ve also seen how God followed a particular order at creation we may not have followed. But when we stuck with God’s order of teaching, unexpected details were revealed. We can expect to see the same pattern as we study details in the Tabernacle in the order Moses recorded them.

Posted in Bible Study Aids, Bible Study Methods Explained, Bible Study with Context, Christian Books, Tabernacle | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Chapter 2 The Plagues In Egypt

Posted by Ez1 Realty on April 6, 2016

  • Chapter 2 The Plagues In Egypt

    • The Plagues

      When Moses first returned to Egypt, everyone was filled with high hopes. The God they served sent someone to free them. Then Moses and Aaron returned to Egypt and called all the elders of Israel together. Aaron told them everything the LORD had told Moses, and Moses performed the miraculous signs as they watched. Then the people of Israel were convinced that the LORD had sent Moses and Aaron. When they heard that the LORD was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped. (Exodus 4:29-31 NLTse).

      It seemed like an easy process. Have a little talk with Pharaoh and the problem was solved. It seemed only natural to think, not even Pharaoh would dare to stand up to God. After all, Moses and Pharaoh grew up almost as brothers. If Pharaoh would listen to anyone, it would be Moses. But things didn’t go as smooth as people expected. After his presentation to Israel’s leaders, Moses and Aaron went and spoke to Pharaoh. They told him, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Let my people go so they may hold a festival in my honor in the wilderness.” “Is that so?” retorted Pharaoh. “And who is the LORD? Why should I listen to him and let Israel go? I don’t know the LORD, and I will not let Israel go.” (Exodus 5:1-2 NLTse). Can you imagine that? Moses was there to free Israel. Moses was the one God chose to free Israel. But it appeared Pharaoh never heard of God. What lesson does this teach us about our spiritual lives?

      Moses asked Pharaoh to let Israel go on a trip for three days. Pharaoh didn’t want to slow down work on his projects, or give into slaves in any way, shape, or form. That same day Pharaoh sent this order to the Egyptian slave drivers and the Israelite foremen: “Do not supply any more straw for making bricks. Make the people get it themselves! But still require them to make the same number of bricks as before. Don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy. That’s why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifices to our God.’ Load them down with more work. Make them sweat! That will teach them to listen to lies!” (Exodus 5:6-9 NLTse).

      Things went from bad to worse. Imagine living as a slave all your life hearing stories about one day being free. Life is full of pain, toil, hard work, and nothing but disappointments. Then one day an old man walks in, tells you God is here to free you and… what would you think? How would you feel?

      Everyone in Israel felt jubilant. They were happy and hopeful for the first time in their lives. People sang, danced, shouted, and put down their work for the first time in their miserable lives. The next day, everything changed. They felt so low. It felt like a rib was ripped out of them. A promise of freedom turned into a curse.

      Think of that in your own life. How often have you seen hopeless times when it seemed nothing good was ever going to happen. A time when it looked like there was no way out of a situation. Time passed and nothing seemed to work. All you could do is worry. Those worries got to a point they began to take a physical toll. You lost sleep, and had trouble concentrating. It felt like you were sick. You tried everything to take your mind off the problem, but any distraction lasted only a moment.

      It’s times like that we finally question our faith and wish it was stronger. We feel the spiritual battle all around us as well as inside. Israel lived in a spiritual battle in Egypt. Not only was hard labor and evil taskmasters taking a toll on them, serving as slaves in a pagan country added to their trials.

      It always seems as if God waits until the last second to come in and save the day. I’m sure you’ve seen that in your life. Just when things seem darkest, the bright light of God’s hand lights the way. What happens after that? We praise God. But how long do we remember? Do we remember all the times God saved the day when a new and greater trial comes along?

      That’s exactly what happened to Israel. Hope seemed distant. Four hundred years passed before anything happened. Soon after a glimmer of hope showed itself, it disappeared. Israel found themselves in a worse state than they could have imagined. It was a test.

      God knew what was going on. He knew the plans He had for Israel. Preparing Israel to leave Egypt was part of that plan. That’s how we can recognize God’s plans. They always serve more than one purpose. God placed Israel in a position to show their faith, just like He does for us. It was a severe trial, because that’s what they needed. After years in Egypt, a lot of their beliefs rubbed off on Israel and into their worship. We’ve seen how God wanted them to be His nation of priests. They had to know how to worship God and only God to become His priests. The cleansing began as soon as Moses showed up.

      Finding yourself deeper in the hole should not come as a surprise. We should know a little about that spiritual warfare behind the scenes. The enemy is not going to easily give up. That was lesson number one for all generations.

      When we look at the order of plagues God used and know a little about Egypt’s gods, we can see how God began by toppling one god after another. The first thing God had to do was defeat their gods before Egypt was ready to listen. Israel also had to see how powerless those gods they’ve known all their lives were. They had to see those gods were nothing but man made images used to control the masses. That was one of the most important lessons God had to teach. Not only for Israel, but for everyone in every generation. Using images and traditions to control people was one of Satan’s favorite weapons. We’ve seen how he used that trick in Babel.

      Then Moses went back to the LORD and protested, “Why have you brought all this trouble on your own people, Lord? Why did you send me? Ever since I came to Pharaoh as your spokesman, he has been even more brutal to your people. And you have done nothing to rescue them!” (Exodus 5:22-23 NLTse).

      The testing began. Israel was facing an unprecedented degree of brutality at the hands of their Egyptian owners. I wonder how many prayers went up. I wonder how many of them were sincere. I wonder if anyone praised God for sending Moses and beginning the process. If we compare our encounters with God, how do they help us to understand how people in Egypt felt?

      Too many people like to jump ahead thinking about how events in Egypt tells us how things will be in the last days just before Jesus comes back to take us away from this world of sin and despair. Most people think things will continue to go from bad to worse just like they did for Israel. But how many people look at this illustration as the beginning of a walk with God? After all, being born again doesn’t mark the end of troubles. It does mark the beginning of a new series of attacks from the enemy. It also marks the beginning of a new life where old sins, traditions, and beliefs are removed. We never see that change unless we look back. That’s what God wants us to do, learn to look back and remember. Do we learn more by looking back studying our lives and how God has been involved, or by wandering about how things may be in the future? That was Israel’s first mistake. As soon as something happened, they let their minds jump into the future when they should have been looking back at the God their parents, and grandparents talked about. Oh how quickly one generation forgets the wisdom and experiences of the older generation.

      Then the LORD told Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh. When he feels the force of my strong hand, he will let the people go. In fact, he will force them to leave his land!” And God said to Moses, “I am Yahweh–‘the LORD.’ I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El-Shaddai–‘God Almighty’–but I did not reveal my name, Yahweh, to them. And I reaffirmed my covenant with them. Under its terms, I promised to give them the land of Canaan, where they were living as foreigners. You can be sure that I have heard the groans of the people of Israel, who are now slaves to the Egyptians. And I am well aware of my covenant with them. “Therefore, say to the people of Israel: ‘I am the LORD. I will free you from your oppression and will rescue you from your slavery in Egypt. I will redeem you with a powerful arm and great acts of judgment. I will claim you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God who has freed you from your oppression in Egypt. I will bring you into the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will give it to you as your very own possession. I am the LORD!'” So Moses told the people of Israel what the LORD had said, but they refused to listen anymore. They had become too discouraged by the brutality of their slavery. (Exodus 6:1-9 NLTse).

      The first thing God did was point Moses back in time. God confirmed, they had to look back to understand where they were and why. It’s not only our own lives we learn from, we have the ability to learn from other people’s lives, experience, success, and errors. The longer this world is in existence, the more we have to look back on. The older we grow, the more experience we have to draw from. Faith doesn’t come from looking forward to what we want and expect out of life. Faith springs out of past experiences. How can we measure faith by looking at an uncertain future? Although we have a great amount of hope in the final end, Jesus’ return, our faith is based on what we’ve learned from the past.

      The miracles and plagues in Egypt were performed for us to look back on as well as teaching a lesson to Egyptians, Israelites, and reach out to them. Like creation, God used a specific order. The first encounter with Pharaoh was a simple introduction and request. At the second meeting, Moses threw his staff to the ground where it turned into a serpent. Pharaoh’s court magicians did the same thing. But the serpent from Moses’ staff ate the other serpents. What does a serpent remind you of? Moses was sent to Pharaoh with a serpent to show God had control over the serpent, the one who had control over Pharaoh.

      The first plague was an attack on Egypt’s water gods. Egypt had about a half dozen. God didn’t fool around. He went after the most popular, strongest, and largest number of gods in Egypt. God didn’t want to appear to work His way up Egypt’s list of god’s. God was working His way down the list.

      The trap worked. Pharaoh was so furious after all the water in the land turned to blood, he demanded action from his court priests and magicians. There was no way they could turn all that blood back to water. But they worked out a plan to turn some water into blood. Their plan was to show they were as strong and wise as God, but what they did was proved they were controlling their lifeless gods. The magicians just proved their greatest gods were a fallacy.

      The next plague showed God’s sense of humor. After Moses had another meeting with Pharaoh, the blood turned back to water. The next day, frogs came out. Not just a few, millions of them. How could frogs come out of water that was blood the day before? The Egyptians had an answer. It was their futility god making a statement. Frogs represented fertility in Egypt. God placed Egypt in the same position Israel was a few days ago. At first they felt a great joy at the first sight of their god coming out of waters where everything was dead a day ago. Egypt celebrated for a day as they looked at their god save the day. They gave credit to the clean waters to their frog god.

      The priests made another mistake. To claim instant success, they claimed their god of fertility had power of the waters. Okay, which one was it? A few days ago the priests and magicians showed they had power over water. Then they claimed their frog god had power over six other gods. Remember the meaning of Babel on the surface? Egypt was displaying a bit of confusion while God continued to show a glimpse of His sense of humor.

      What do frogs eat? Bugs. If the land was covered with frogs, and they all suddenly died, what excuses do you think the quick thinking priests and magicians came up with? One of their main excuses hinged on food. The frogs simply starved to death. But wait a minute. A few days ago those frogs were being praised for cleaning up the water. Or at least helping the water gods. But the frog gods couldn’t make anything to eat?

      And the LORD did just what Moses had predicted. The frogs in the houses, the courtyards, and the fields all died. The Egyptians piled them into great heaps, and a terrible stench filled the land. But when Pharaoh saw that relief had come, he became stubborn. He refused to listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had predicted. So the LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Raise your staff and strike the ground. The dust will turn into swarms of gnats throughout the land of Egypt.'” So Moses and Aaron did just as the LORD had commanded them. When Aaron raised his hand and struck the ground with his staff, gnats infested the entire land, covering the Egyptians and their animals. All the dust in the land of Egypt turned into gnats. (Exodus 8:13-17 NLTse).

      That excuse of starving to death only lasted a short time. All those gnats made the wise men in Egypt look foolish. Imagine having a gnat make you look foolish. Can’t you picture God looking down and every once in a while, get a little chuckle at what people were doing or thinking?

      God decided to give those Egyptian gods a rest. Egypt didn’t look at gnats as gods. They weren’t that desperate. They must have figured it would be difficult to scare people with a gnat god. The next plague was a little larger. God took away the gnats, then brought in flies. Now they wished those piles of dead stinking frogs could come back to life to take care of those flies. Pharaoh demanded action. Bringing back piles of dead frogs to life seemed like the obvious thing to do. People stood around swatting at those flies, wandering what those wise men were going to do. The worst thing about the situation was, one of their most important gods were now food for flies. Pharaoh’s religious foundation was falling apart.

      Next God moved to the economy. God didn’t have to defeat all their god’s in the open. He had to leave a few for people to look at and make up their minds on their own. That’s what they were supposed to do, start using the knowledge God gave them. After God raised a list of questions about Egypt’s most important and powerful gods, it was time to go after the things those gods were supposed to bless or control. God went after their cattle. The cattle God plagued were a mixture of Egyptian deities, and common animals. If all that blood, frogs, gnats, and flies didn’t catch their attention, maybe hitting them where it hurt would work. God moved into their pocket books.

      Be honest. Don’t most of your worries have something to do with money? Now put yourself in their position. Those Egyptians spent their entire lives making money from their Israelite slaves. When God hit them in their pocket books, He changed another detail to teach a lesson. Only Egyptian cattle died. The Israelite cattle was untouched. God was fulfilling His promise to protect and defend the poor and broken hearts, not to mention broken backs and spirits.

      If hitting them in their pocket books wasn’t personal enough, God had another plan moving from their animals to the people. Think of it. How scared would you be if you spent the past few days going out to look over your dead animals. Your already depressed and worried. Suddenly you wake up with boils all over your body. People felt like they were about to die. Fear wasn’t close to describing what they felt. They had no where to turn. The priests and magicians were covered in boils. Everyone was. They realized, in the state they were in, Israel could easily come in and overpower them. Some of the highest ranking people tried to convince Pharaoh to let Israel go. But he still didn’t want to listen.

      It got to a point most of the people were convinced all they had to do was get rid of Israel and everything would get back to normal. But Pharaoh was the most stubborn man on earth. And God wasn’t only looking for a way to free Israel, He was trying to find a way to get Egypt to repent and change. It was like moving a mountain. God could move any mountain with a single word. But what about the people and animals on that mountain? He wouldn’t want to harm them. God has the same concern whenever He tries to reach anyone.

      With more personal plagues, God moved from cattle dying, to boils, to hail. Once again, Israel was unaffected. Egypt could look over the fence to see Israel was protected. All they had to do was cross over to find out more about the God protecting Israel. That hail storm was a call to come out of Egypt. But did they listen?

      Moses recorded the most brilliant series of military maneuvers in the history of spiritual warfare. God showed He had control over the serpent, then proceeded to prove it. He beat up on Egypt’s strongest and most popular gods. When God had them on the ropes, the enemy had no choice but to show he was the one who created and controlled those gods. God had the enemy prove those gods were an illusion. What a move, having the enemy inflict the first major blow upon themselves.

      God wasn’t done using the god’s Egyptian priests created against them. In their confusion, God used their frog god to show how confused the priests were. While they were trying to explain how one lessor god had to rescue a larger number of more powerful gods, people began to see how their explanations didn’t make sense. Their eyes began to open.

      Using the smallest of creatures, God reminded Israel, He created this world. God pointed Moses back to Abraham, but those gnats pointed them back to creation when He brought them up from the ground. The combination of water followed by dry ground wasn’t something the enemy saw coming.

      Usually frogs eat flies. But this time it was flies dining on frogs. When God used tiny creatures to show His power over their gods, people began to pay attention. If that wasn’t enough, removing their wealth should have gained their attention. That was the perfect time to set His people apart, showing His love and protection to a less than perfect race of people while havoc rained down on the wealthy upper class who created that separation in the first place.

      God’s tactical moves showed how He reached out to people where they were by using common things already present in their lives. To Israel, that should have reminded them of how God had all the materials in place before He started creating this world. God only had to prove He still had control over all the elements. Not the gods the enemy created. How can you control something that didn’t exist?

    • The First Passover

      Finally God hit Egypt where it really hurt with a plague aimed at their most personal target. One that couldn’t help but expose what all those plagues pointed to, their future. God gave them a warning before He struck the final blow. You have to realize. The only thing that could save the firstborn in Egypt was blood from a lamb or goat. God already killed off the cattle in Egypt and their entire food source. God showed them they were spiritually starving. Their was only two things they could do to save their children. They could go to the Israelites to borrow a lamb, which they couldn’t return. So they had to purchase one. Pay an Israelite? They had to bury a lot of pride to do that. Their only other choice was to join an Israelite family inside their home for the Passover meal. Dine with an Israelite? That was impossible. They would rather die. God left the choice to them.

      In Israel, people had to put yeast out of their homes. Then they had to go into their flocks to choose the best lamb. They had to bring it home and give it special care for a few days before they slit its throat and roasted it whole over a fire. What a series of symbols. The perfect lamb, pointing to Jesus. The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29 NLTse).

      They had to care for that lamb, get to know it. The children that lamb was going to save would have to feed it. Some children fell in love with their lamb. Fathers had to explain to their children why they had to kill the lamb and how that lamb was going to save their oldest son. People had no choice but to step up and be the priest of the house to save it. They had a choice.

      First God had to end their connection with idols and make believe gods. The beginning series of plagues showed how the priesthood in Egypt was a man made system designed to control people. God showed how He was in control of the smallest creatures and how they could achieve great things at His direction. God showed how he can use little creatures to consume and destroy Egypt’s gods. While stripping away Egypt’s riches, God displayed the protection available to His people. God opened the door for the first lesson of the priesthood He was establishing, to help their neighbors. The next lesson was to follow instructions to protect their families.

      The plagues in Egypt served many purposes. We’ve seen God use the same pattern at creation. Every step in the process taught new lessons, built on previous lessons. Among other things, those plagues built up to the gift God gave Israel when He restored the priesthood. First God had to purge out the old systems of worship polluting Israel. Once the yeast or leaven was purged, it was safe to fill those empty vessels with something new. The priesthood was one of the most important details presented to Israel before they left Egypt.

      Exodus 12 covers specific details for the Passover. The animal you select must be a one-year-old male, either a sheep or a goat, with no defects. “Take special care of this chosen animal until the evening of the fourteenth day of this first month. Then the whole assembly of the community of Israel must slaughter their lamb or young goat at twilight. They are to take some of the blood and smear it on the sides and top of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the animal. (Exo 12:5-7 NLTse).

      At this point it is important to remember major details so when we study ceremonies in the Tabernacle, we know where they came from. That way we can go back and examine the Passover from the aspect of the Tabernacle.

      On that night I will pass through the land of Egypt and strike down every firstborn son and firstborn male animal in the land of Egypt. I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt, for I am the LORD! But the blood on your doorposts will serve as a sign, marking the houses where you are staying. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. This plague of death will not touch you when I strike the land of Egypt. (Exo 12:12-13 NLTse).

      It is so tempting to jump ahead. There are so many details in future stories and chapters this relates to – I’m sure your thinking of a few. It’ll let you and the Spirit review a few of them. Maybe that will make a writer out of you.

      I am going to stick to what I’ve been doing so far – looking back. I’ll try to contain myself by looking forward to as few details as possible. The important part here is executing judgment on Egypt’s gods. Those plagues began as an attack on Egypt’s gods. At the last plague, God explained it was time to execute judgment on those gods exposed in the beginning. This is another example showing God’s process is far different than ours. Most people would attack those false gods and pass judgment on them all at once, or pass judgment on them, then attack them. Which is the way of the world for a long time.

      God used those plagues to expose those idols as false gods. Those priests and magicians were also exposed. God presented evidence. Once it was all in, judgment was passed. God followed His order. The same order we should follow.

      God used blood as a sign. A symbol between Him and people who chose to follow Him, and follow orders. God gave a specific set of instructions for the Passover as a test. A test that separated His people from those who wanted to think on their own. Or people who wanted priests, magicians, and other leaders to think for them. Neither one of them could substitute for God. I got news for you, the same is true today. Instructions had to be followed. That blood had to be visible on both sides and top of the doorposts, or they would loose their firstborn son, and animals. There were no exceptions or excuses. There were no second chances.

      “This is a day to remember. Each year, from generation to generation, you must celebrate it as a special festival to the LORD. This is a law for all time. For seven days the bread you eat must be made without yeast. On the first day of the festival, remove every trace of yeast from your homes. Anyone who eats bread made with yeast during the seven days of the festival will be cut off from the community of Israel. (Exo 12:14-15 NLTse).

      This served as another reminder to look back. I’m glad I didn’t miss this one. We’re still supposed to celebrate the Passover. But these days we look at it as Jesus’ resurrection which has to be the most important day in the history of the universe. At least this world. Can you imagine all those angels looking down wondering why so few people know what that day most call Easter is celebrated the way it is? One rule of Bible Study tells us, symbols always point to something far greater. What did that Passover lamb point to? An Easter bunny? Is that greater than a lamb? Is an Easter bunny greater than Christ? If you go into stores, he is.

      What are we supposed to remember about that Passover for all generations? We covered a few of those details. Not to place faith in priests, magicians, and leaders is one of them. Relying on idols to make life easy is another one you don’t want to forget. If you want to get into details, you may want to remember some of the lessons those plagues taught, like caring for and helping your neighbor. Even if they were the owner you had to serve all your life. Oh, some of those lessons may be a little hard to look back on. There are other details. I can guarantee if you looked back, every year God will show you details you never saw before. So looking back is far more than remembering. It leads to learning something new.

      God also reminded them to leave that yeast behind. Jesus did the best job of explaining what that yeast represented. Then at last they understood that he wasn’t speaking about the yeast in bread, but about the deceptive teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Mat 16:12 NLTse). I bet you could hear that light bulb switch on. There is a direct connection between the deceptions taught in Egypt and all those taught in every generation since that time. Now you see why God told them to keep this festival every year? “What else is the Kingdom of God like? It is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.” (Luk 13:20-21 NLTse). Jesus used Heaven as an example of how things should spread. The same is true with false gods and idols. One false thing can spread throughout the whole lump.

      That night the people of Israel left Rameses and started for Succoth. There were about 600,000 men, plus all the women and children. A rabble of non-Israelites went with them, along with great flocks and herds of livestock. (Exo 12:37-38 NLTse). Moses made it clear, more than Israelites made that trip out of Egypt. We have to remember this and figure out how it applies today.

      Then the LORD said to Moses, “Dedicate to me every firstborn among the Israelites. The first offspring to be born, of both humans and animals, belongs to me.” So Moses said to the people, “This is a day to remember forever–the day you left Egypt, the place of your slavery. Today the LORD has brought you out by the power of his mighty hand. (Remember, eat no food containing yeast.) On this day in early spring, in the month of Abib, you have been set free. (Exo 13:1-4 NLTse).

      This was such an important event, God reset the calender to coincide with the first day of the year, set in spring. Anyone who lives in a northern state living through long, cold winters can tell you what spring is like. It is a time when the ground springs back to life. New life is seen all around. It is a reminder of the new life and world God promised us.

      God claimed all the first born for Himself. He saved them and they became His. This is another reminder of the day we’ll leave this world to go to the real promised land in Heaven. God filled every phase of the Passover with simple symbols to look back on. All of those remind us of better days ahead some of us refer to as eternity. They also point to stories about Jesus. Some stories He taught. His disciples told other stories and explained many details. In other words, they explained exactly what those symbols pointed to. This would turn out to be a long chapter if we began looking into all of them. It would be better if you searched out and viewed a few of those stories. You can use a chain reference in your Bible. Most Bible programs for computers come with chain references.

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Chapter 1 Creation and The Genesis Promise

Posted by Ez1 Realty on March 26, 2016

  • Chapter 1 Creation and The Genesis Promise

    • Creation

      I’ve had dozens of details about the Tabernacle, stone temple, and Heavenly Sanctuary dancing around my head for months. There are so many stores related to the Tabernacle throughout the Bible, as well as many stores showing how the stone temple swayed from one religion to the other. One of the most neglected messages in the Bible may be the Heavenly Sanctuary. I’m not sure if anyone has taken the task of writing a book to look at similarities and differences between the three. I’ve read a few books that combined the Tabernacle and stone temple as if they were one of the same. After I looked into a few of the actual details, materials, and symbols used in the stone temple, I began to see an obvious pattern as well as lessons to consider.

      One rule I’d like to follow throughout this book is to be consistent using the three names. The Tabernacle refers to the Tabernacle built by Moses. The stone temple, better known as Solomon’s temple, and following structures on the same site will be referred to as the temple. Sanctuary will refer to the Heavenly Sanctuary. For the most part, the KJV consistently followed the same rule. The KJV consistently translates Hebrew and Greek words the same throughout chapters and books in the Bible. When conducting a word search, I usually rely on the KJV’s consistency to quickly locate key words in chapters and books throughout the Bible.

      Of course I prayed before starting this book. I asked, where is the best place to begin a story about the Tabernacle? I never thought of this before, but the answer I received was obvious. At the beginning. When I thought of the answer, it made sense. What does the Tabernacle basically represent? The story of salvation. Where does that story begin? In Genesis chapter 1.

      When we see water in the Tabernacle, we should be reminded of one or more texts about water. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.(Genesis 1:1-2 NLTse). What better place to begin than at the beginning. What better way to understand the spiritual meaning of water than to look at where it all began. The Bible placed a link between the Spirit and water before creation began. Of course, the proper way to interpret the spiritual meaning of any symbol is to look at the story the symbol is recorded in, and the previous story. That is not only common sense, it is what is known in Bible Study as context. In this example, the author provided a definite link between the Spirit and water.

      We also see another symbol used in the Tabernacle introduced in Genesis. Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. (Genesis 1:3-4 NLTse). This is another detail to consider when we look at how light is used in the Tabernacle. God created that light, both physical, and what we’ll see, spiritual.

      God shed a little light on a planet covered in water, His Spirit. Next God needed something to complete the next step. That was land. Where was the land? It was always there. God had to bring it to the surface. What happened to the water? Land came to the surface as water moved below the land. God’s Spirit is still over the water, that water only moved position.

      God also created a space or separation between the land and heavens, referred to as sky. Then God brought vegetation out of the land. Then God said, “Let the land sprout with vegetation–every sort of seed-bearing plant, and trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. These seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came.” And that is what happened. (Genesis 1:11 NLTse). Notice how vegetation sprouted up from the land. You have to pay attention to the order of creation to understand the process.

      Most people glance over this story. Then point out the obvious, God spoke things into creation. They missed a large portion of God’s works, perfection, and planning. Everything was in place before God began His work. So far all God had to do was put it in order. This is a vital point to know if you plan on understanding anything in the Bible as well as how God works in your life and how God works in this world.

      God had a planet with His Spirit covering everything. What does that tell you? If you know God, it means everything is in order for it’s time. Notice how the author recorded time periods called days? When we see anything repeated, we know we have to pay attention. We also have to look at details repeated words and comments have in common. In this case, every item was in existence in one form or another before God went to work. God put each item in perfect order for the next step.

      The Spirit cover the water, that covered everything. The water covered all the land, that God moved into position. The land contained everything required for all the forms of vegetation to spring out of it. After another day, the world was ready for the next step.

      But first, lets look at how this story was constructed by the author. If we can’t understand how the author constructed a few sentences in a story, how are we ever going to understand how God put this planet together?

      And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day. (Genesis 1:11-13 KJV).

      God didn’t take all the credit. He gave some of the credit to the earth. “Let the earth bring forth grass.” God directed the change, but everything required for the next step was inside the land before God spoke. Why is this important to know. If we are going to understand the plan of salvation, it all begins with understanding God and His personality. God gave credit to dirt.

      This is where God threw in a little curve in the process to see if we are paying attention. God likes it when we think, but we still need to depend on Him. If we were creating the world, our process most likely would be, light, which would include the sun, moon, and stars. Then move the land on top of the water, make plants, then animals. But God used His process so we don’t forget, God’s ways are not our ways, and that will always be a mystery to us. Look at the light. What was that first light if the sun, moon, and stars were created on the forth day? Those were items that weren’t in place on this planet before creation began. God used His process to remind us, there is a bigger, smarter force in this universe than us.

      We also see time periods repeated, which is an important factor to consider in all forms Bible Study. So far we’ve been taught the lessons, to rely on God, expect the unexpected, and look at the time periods involved. These are all important factors involved in the study of the Tabernacle, temple, and Sanctuary. More people get lost by confusing or ignoring obvious time frames.

      And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. (Genesis 1:20 KJV). Here we see the same pattern repeated. Except this time, water brought creatures and fowl or birds. It seems rather unusual for birds to come out of water. Another example of looking for the unexpected in God’s Word. We can’t assume anything. We have to look at the process God followed if we ever hope to understand anything.

      Look at the fundamental teaching tools God used. He introduced a process only He determined. Then God used all the birds and creatures in the waters to illustrate a point. We can’t hope to understand all of those creatures. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist. They are living, eating, breathing, duplicating, doing everything God created them to do.

      God wasn’t finished with His new world yet. It needed a few extra details. And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. (Genesis 1:24 KJV). Why didn’t God create fish, birds, and animals on the same day? That’s a question no one can answer. That’s one of those questions you’ll have to ask God. As we progress through the story of creation, we will see God’s reason for putting that detail in the story of creation. Now we have to look at where those animals came from. ” Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind.” God gave credit to the earth, or dirt again. Why?

      God wanted to stress the balance He created. We can tell balance is an important detail to see, based on the fact, details pointing to it were repeated. Authors always repeat key points to draw attention to them. It’s our job to slow down, notice them, and ask God’s Spirit to explain them.

      Now we’re faced with another detail God repeated. We’re first given evidence of a countless number of fish and birds to consider. Added to that were a countless number of animals, insects, and other creatures. Each one of them is beyond our imagination, not to mention our comprehension.

      People like to point out the power of God’s Word. They like to point out, God created all of those details with a single word. I wonder if they realize the page in front of them is filled with God’s Words, and each of them has the same power as the word He used to create.

      We see a specific process. A process created and followed by God. We’re also reminded of how little we understand. The vast number fish, birds, and creatures God created are His witnesses to that fact. What we need to see is how all of these facts related to God’s Word.

      We can’t hope to comprehend all of God’s Word any more than we can understand all the fish, or birds, animals, or other creatures. Some people think they have the Bible figured out. They claim to have all the truth. And most likely, those same people claim God no longer talks to this world. How could that be? Don’t we still have water? As long as we have water on this planet, we have God’s Spirit.

      And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Genesis 1:26-27 KJV).

      As God continued the process of creation, He also continued the lessons. Look at the way the history of first man was recorded. The first point God made was, He made man in His image. That is a major point to consider. What is an image? Can an image do the same things the original can do? Can an image take over for the original? Let’s take a look at that word image.

      Image H6754 tselem

      From an unused root meaning to shade; a phantom, that is, (figuratively) illusion, resemblance; hence a representative figure, especially an idol: – image, vain shew.

      We see how the definition of the word image can go much deeper than most people consider. No matter how we choose to look at man’s image of God, the fact remains, God gave Adam dominion over everything. Why? So we can understand God’s character. God created man and woman, and gave everything to them. God didn’t hold anything back. God gave it all. There was no way for Adam and Eve to pay them back. They didn’t have anything to give to God. Everything they had was supplied by God. The lesson is, God could have never finished His creation or called it very good if He had not given them and us an example of unconditional love.

      How many people consider the key ingredient of love in creation? Just because it’s not mentioned by name doesn’t mean it wasn’t present. After all, didn’t John say, “God is love.” Is this world so caught up with the word love, they can’t see its presence unless the word is spoken? What is more important in your life, the word or the action?

      I wonder why people skip over this part of chapter 1 where God showed He created man and woman together, and jump over to chapter 2, where we find a more detailed account. Here we have an example where the author recorded an event, then later filled in more details. It’s a style of writing used throughout the Bible. As we can see, God spent time to teach a lot of the fundamental rules of Bible Study at creation. Now we can see why this is a good place to begin.

      There may be questions regarding the reason man and woman were created together in the first account, while the detailed account in chapter 2 shows how God formed Adam first, them created Eve. Part of that answer is found in the gift God gave them and how God created Eve. God gave them the whole world and unconditional love. God formed Eve from one of Adam’s ribs as an expression of that unconditional. An example or symbol showing their connection, as well as reliance upon each other. Adam will never be complete without His rib, and Eve would not exist without it.

      When we reach chapter 2, we see the process of creation repeated. Why? This shows us it an a very important lesson. To understand the whole story, we have no choice but to compare each record of the story verse by verse. Together we get a much better view of the story. God keeps adding one important detail about Bible Study after another. If someone wanted to write a book about Bible Study, they could explain most of the important aspects using Genesis and the story of creation. Oh yes, God has a sense of humor to. We can see it in the way He plays hide and seek with His words.

      After putting this world in the proper order, telling the sea and ground to send up their hidden treasures, God looked around. Everything was beautiful and ready for the next step. There was an open spot on the ground that appeared like God had a job to do before finishing his creation. God knelt down at that open spot and began to gather some of that dirt together in a long narrow mound. Once He had a adequate supply of dust gathered from the earth, God went to get the next ingredient. It needed a little bit of water. God mixed in just the right amount for the right consistency. Angels above looked down in interest as a number of different animals and birds gathered around. Taller animals like giraffes politely moved to the back to allow shorter ones a good view. Birds had no problem as they occupied every branch in site. Every once in a while God stepped back from His work to look at the details and look up at the breath taking colors of the birds and flowers. It would have been impossible for anyone to complete the task in a day with all the animals and birds playing and trying their best to get God’s attention. But God stayed focused as He worked with that clay forming arms, legs, hands, fingers, and all the details of the apex of His creation.

      God stood up, brushed the dirt from His knees and hands. Looked around at all the animals and birds waiting to see what was happening. He gave then a smile before returning to one knee, putting his lips on the molded mouth of His image on the ground and blew into it. Excited chatter and song broke through the area as the clay image took on additional detail, changed color, and began to move. Its eyes opened. It raised its hands in the air examining their detail. God placed His hand under one arm to help the first man to his feet.

      The first thing God wanted to do was plant Adam a garden. God started with a few trees, making sure they were exactly where Adam wanted them. Then God filled the scene in with a few bushes displaying the most unusual flowers. Near the front of the path God planted all different types of flowers for Adam to enjoy. Creatures watched as God worked in the ground to make that garden special for Adam. Once the garden was finished, God looked around, then declared, it was time to name all the creatures. God sent out the signal and every living creature passed in front of God and Adam two by two. They had so much fun naming all those creatures. But Adam noticed something. Every pair of animals showed little differences between male and female. Adam looked at himself in a pool of water, then over at God. He noticed they were the same. That’s when Adam wondered where His mate was.

      God had a reason for making Adam wait. He wanted Adam to learn a few things it was important for Him to know. Something that would set him above the animals. Something to make Him feel special. God told Adam he had to sleep for a while, and there would be a surprise for him when he woke up.

      God placed Adam in a deep sleep to open him up from front to back. God took out a single rib from around Adam’s heart and closed up the wound. I wonder why God had to open up Adam to take out that rib. Wouldn’t it have been easier for God to just make Eve from the same dust He used to make Adam? Or why didn’t God pull a rib out without opening Adam up? And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. (Genesis 2:21-22 KJV).

      We only have two verses to look at. This also brings up another important Bible Study method to learn. Whenever you see something unusual, anything that doesn’t seem to make sense, dig deep for the answer. There are generally two methods I use to dig deeper. Whichever method you use, the first step is to listen to that quiet whisper of God’s Spirit inside you. More often than not, God provided the answer before He posed the question. The role of God’s Spirit is to direct you on the proper path to find that answer. You know your on the right path and found or heard the right message when you look at the answer and see how simple it is. Then you ask yourself why you’ve never seen it before. In this case, looking at the texts, we see an unusual word – instead. It doesn’t seem to fit. That’s the signal to look deeper. Look up the definition.

      INSTEAD H8478 tachath

      From the same as H8430; the bottom (as depressed); only adverbially below (often with prepositional prefix underneath), in lieu of, etc.: – as, beneath, X flat, in (-stead), (same) place (where . . . is), room, for . . . sake, stead of, under, X unto, X when . . . was mine, whereas, [where-] fore, with.

      H8430 toach

      From an unused root meaning to depress; humble; Toach, an Israelite: – Toah.

      Don’t you find it interesting how God inserted a word that explains what we feel like when we loose our spouse? Have you ever felt the physical pain of a separation or divorce? Think about that. You have to know what that pain is before you can understand why God provided the answers by giving us that clue.

      Looking back at previous texts, and there is not a lot to review at this point in the Bible, what do you see? The first point is, we are created in God’s image. Does that mean God has a missing rib? It means God feels a depression every time He looses someone. So take your pain and multiple it by a few hundred million and then your in God’s position. Then you can see why Jesus was pierced under His rib and why He carries the open wound. Now you can begin to understand why Jesus had the disciples inspect that wound. He wanted that close observation to leave an impression on them.

      Look at how this world views that rib. Look at the figures they use for that rib. The all look like a straight line or number 1. God didn’t take out a piece of a rib. God took out the whole rib from front to back. That rib doesn’t look like a number 1. It stands for the unity of 1. It stands for two becoming one. But it does not stand for looking out for number one. The full rib looks like a C if you look at it one way. Held the other way, it looks like a U. Either way, it has an open end. The rib protects the heart, while still having an open end. Only God can fill that open end like only God could take that rib and make a woman out of it.

      And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:23-24 KJV).

      To understand this portion of the story in its proper context, we have to look at who said this. It is Adam speaking, not God. Adam knew a little bit about what happened, but give the guy a break, he was only one day old. He didn’t know how the body worked, but he did see a physical connection. He knew he was connected to Eve by flesh and bone. In a prophet voice, Adam pointed to another connection. Where are blood cells produced? This is really good because God had to make a point. He had to put science in their place somewhere in this story about creation and He did it here. Blood is produced in bones. Science is not sure how the body does it, or how those blood cells get into the blood stream. All they know is, when they cut open a bone, it is filled with red blood cells. The rest is a mystery, and science, no matter how hard they try, cannot reproduce the process. Science should be humbled at God’s creation.

      This also introduced the concept of blood. Adam and Eve shared the same flesh, bone, and blood. When we look at the Hebrew meaning of the word man used in the creation story, we find it means mankind. It does not refer to only the male of the species. Adam made that clear by expressing his thoughts on his union with Eve.

      Can you image the look on Adam’s face when He looked up and saw God and Eve standing over him? Then God gave them a special job. He told them to tend the garden He made for them. Let your mind wander over the sights, sounds, and smells of that scene for a moment and think about what God did. He set aside a special day to spend with them on the first honeymoon in history.

      God also gave them the ability to reproduce. This may not seem like much, but it set the scene for the next story in creation. Lucifer was furious. Those creatures were only a day old and they had a gift Lucifer never had. Not only Adam and Eve, but all the animals, birds, fish, and bugs were able to reproduce. Lucifer had a jealous streak as wide as the horizon. He didn’t like God’s arrangements at all and he wanted to do something about it.

    • The Deception

      Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? (Genesis 3:1 KJV).

      Satan began the conversation doing what he’s best at, lying. He knew there was only one tree God told Adam he could never eat from. Satan insisted that wasn’t true by insinuating there was more than one tree. Eve made a mistake by attempting to correct the master deceiver by herself. That was the only opening Lucifer needed. He had been deceiving angels in Heaven longer than Eve could imagine. Eve should have consulted God on the matter. Scripture showed, Eve had direct access to God and could go to Him for advice. She could have went to her husband for advice. If he was smart, he would have told her to wait until after discussing the matter with God before addressing the question. But Eve began a long series of mistakes along this line, making decisions before consulting God. We will see this mistake repeated as we progress through a study of the temple.

      Eve ate the fruit and shard it with her husband. Later God found them in the garden wearing fig leaves to cover themselves. Then God conducted the first sacrifice in the history of the universe. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. (Genesis 3:21 KJV). No one could have guessed at the cost of sin. The universe, as well as Lucifer and his followers watched God take the lives of those first sacrifices with His own hands. The universe watched this world fall apart as flowers faded, leaves died, animals began killing and eating each other, and Adam and Eve were rejected from the garden. Angels were concerned with the changes, so God took measures to comfort them. God introduced the concept of death in His Kingdom by restricting the life span of all the creatures in this world, including mankind. Even the weather changed. No part of nature in this world escaped the consequences of sin.

    • Summary of Creation

      In the creation story we’ve uncovered a number of key pieces that play a key role in the system established in the Tabernacle. Some of those details relate to materials used in the Tabernacle, while others are related to the sacrificial system. God showed how all the key elements required to create this world were in place before He began. We will see the same pattern when it was time for Moses to construct the Tabernacle and all the items associated with it. We also saw how blood was introduced inside the rib God used to from Eve. The blood was inside, hidden from view, but was still present. This showed how Adam, Eve, and the entire human race shared the same blood, until it was perfected in Jesus, the perfect sacrifice.

      We’ve also seen how God introduced key elements of basic Bible Study in the first two chapters of Genesis. These patterns are keys to understanding all scripture, as well as the Tabernacle, temple, and Sanctuary. We know to look for the unexpected. When God used an unexpected pattern, it is a signal to seek guidance from His Spirit. God has His own timing, and it may not agree with ours. Words and phrases repeated in texts lead us to the main thought and theme. Unusual words can open up a whole new understanding when we look up the original Hebrew meaning. This is also true for Greek used in the New Testament. We’ve also seen how Bible writers introduce a subject then fill in details in later chapters. This is a pattern throughout the Bible and from book to book. We’ll be using and reviewing all of those study methods and more as we progress through this book.

    • Cain and Abel

      No one could have guessed Adam and Eve would have two children and the older would kill his younger brother. To try to apply a spiritual meaning to the older brother Cain and younger brother Abel would be impossible at this point, since the sequence of stones has not given us a clue. We do know Cain murdered Abel over their personal views of an acceptable sacrifice. We can keep this in mind as we progress on our study of the Tabernacle, it’s sacrificial system, and compare it to those seen in the temple.

      It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out, this chapter is a brief introduction to the sacrificial system, as well as the first example showing the innate desire for people to make a few changes to God’s system. As the term applies, it seems like the desire to compromise with God on every detail is given to us at birth. That is the downfall and burden of being born in a world of sin. We should learn that lesson well, based on the fact, Cain was the first son born in this world.

      And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: (Genesis 4:3-4 KJV). Right from the beginning, brothers argued on the subject of sacrifice. That argument continues today. We will see examples of man made changes when we study the sacrificial system God gave and compare it to what actually happened.

    • Noah’s Ark

      It didn’t take long for things to turn bad in this world. We see one story about Enoch, who walked so close to God, he eventually joined God in Heaven. There were a number of people who continued to follow God, but things got so bad, God had a talk with Noah and had him build an ark. That ark was not a forerunner or pattern for the Tabernacle, but it was a sort of symbol pointing to it. Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.(Genesis 6:14 KJV). Once again we see a strange word repeated. Pitch is one of the most unusual words in the Bible. The Hebrew word, like many others, and English words, has more than one meaning. We wouldn’t know that until we look. Once again, the author brought our attention to this word by repeating it.

      PITCH H3722 kaphar

      A primitive root; to cover (specifically with bitumen); figuratively to expiate or condone, to placate or cancel: – appease, make (an) atonement, cleanse, disannul, forgive, be merciful, pacify, pardon, to pitch, purge (away), put off, (make) reconcile (-liation).

      Bitumen is another word for tar. Don’t forget the KJV is an old English version of the Bible and some of the old English words are different than what we use today. The real surprise is found when we look at the second meaning of the word – make (an) atonement, cleanse, disannul, forgive, be merciful. We can see how that covering on Noah’s ark was designed to point to Jesus’ sacrifice.

      Problems in this world that led to its destruction began with disagreements about the sacrificial system. I could write another book about how some churches, particularly church leaders are continuing to make that mistake. Not in regards to the physical sacrifice, but the spiritual sacrifice in respect to serving God and receiving His spiritual gifts.

      When Noah stepped out of that ark, he did two things. And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. (Genesis 8:20 KJV). As soon as Noah came out of that ark, he displayed his understanding of the sacrificial system and taught it to his three sons and their wives. The sacrifice is like book ends. One is at the beginning of the family structure at the very beginning pf sin. The other is at a new beginning as soon as Noah left the ark.

    • Babel

      And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. (Genesis 11:4-6 KJV).

      Once again, things went bad and God had to step in. This time He just gave them different languages to scatter them over the land. In this story, the people wanted to stay together, the old adage of strength through numbers. This example showed, that kind of reasoning doesn’t work with God. Men can’t outvote God to cancel or change His plans.

      In this story we see people getting together to build their own from of worship, a tower, a new way of shaking their fists at God. This time God stepped in early and handed things in His own way. When we look at this story, the word Babel is introduced. Most people know this is the word Babylon is based on. Most people also know Babel means confusion, which is the meaning on the surface. When we dig a little deeper, we find Babel is derived from another Hebrew word.

      H1101 balal

      A primitive root; to overflow (specifically with oil); by implication to mix; also (denominative from H1098) to fodder: – anoint, confound, X fade, mingle, mix (self), give provender, temper

      H1098 belyl

      From H1101; mixed, that is, (specifically) feed (for cattle): – corn, fodder, provender.

      The word Babel leads to confusion, but how is that confusion spread? Looking a little deeper, we see it comes from feeding cattle a mixture. It shouldn’t be difficult to see how that relates to how many Christians relate to, or define Babel or Babylon in a spiritual sense. The meaning goes beyond confusion. The spiritual meaning includes control. Most often it points to control by one person, or organization. At least now you know where that meaning comes from, and how to explain it. And you got another review in using a Concordance and the Hebrew dictionary that comes with it.

    • Introduction to the Promised Land

      The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:1-3 NLTse).

      Abram was the first to receive information about the promised land. This is another detail someone could write a book on. Abram’s life took many twists and turns. In the long run, Abram provided a son to carry on the promise. This showed the beginning of a long process that took generations to fulfill. Later we will see how the Tabernacle also points to that promised land like an arrow on a road sign.

      There are a number of interesting details in Abram’s journey you can look at on your own. How Abram separated from Lot. Abraham’s two sons. His journey into Egypt and how it related to Issac’s time in Egypt, Jacob’s, and Jesus’ call to go to Egypt. When you look at them, look at the related details, as well as the differences or contrasts, which lead to an explanation of their spiritual meaning. But Egypt has little to do with the Tabernacle, except for the fact its materials came from Egypt.

      What we are seeing is a pattern of related stories, when combined and investigated, reveal a deeper spiritual meaning. Like a flower blooming, you miss most of the story if your only interested in the end result. The effect and beauty will soon fade, but the lesson will be missed. If you only look at the mature flower, what will you learn about the nature of the flower? Wouldn’t your connection be based solely on self gratification?

      You have to look at every story like God described the life of a flower. It may have been a brief summary, but that short story showed a few important steps. The flower springs up from the ground. It is a gift from God. It requires some care and attention. God’s Word is His flower, a special gift to us. His Word needs some care and attention, some tender loving care to appreciate its full beauty. And we’ve seen how God recorded those instructions to care for His Word, and appreciate it.

    • From Abraham to Jacob

      There are a number of stories that apply in part to the Tabernacle. Jacob gave us a glimpse of a small part of the Tabernacle when he fled his home and met God in the wilderness. As he slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway. At the top of the stairway stood the LORD, and he said, “I am the LORD, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. (Genesis 28:12-13 NLTse). It may be a small part, but we need some insight to the angels used in the curtains in the Tabernacle. Jacob also needed to be reminded who was in charge of the real birthright.

      Jacob’s mother was confused about the birthright. She thought the birthright involved all of Isaac’s flocks, riches, and servants. She wanted all of that for Jacob, the son she loved. So she concocted a plan, it was nothing more than a series of lies and deceptions she told her son, Jacob to follow. Once Jacob was removed from his mother’s influence, God had to have a little chat with him to show Jacob where the real blessing was. Not in the words of his father he received through deception, but in God’s plan. Jacob tells us a small portion of that plan and agencies God has at His command to fulfill that plan. Here we see a contrast between worldly views on God’s plan of salvation and God’s way of doing things.

      Adam received everything God created and freely shares it with his wife. There was no question. God didn’t hold anything back and neither did Adam. But there was a test. Eve went to that one tree she was told to stay away from. Why? Everything in this world was not enough for her. She had to see what that one thing she was missing was all about. She was easy prey for the serpent. All he had to do is promise Eve something she didn’t have. And she fell for it.

      As soon as she realized what happened, she tried to think of a way out of the situation. The only solution she could think of was to get everything back in balance the way it used to be. She had something Adam didn’t. Maybe making Adam her equal would make everything alright. Eve convinced Adam he had to take the one thing she had to offer. It seemed innocent enough. But they forgot, this was the one way of being disobedient to God. After giving them time to think about what they did, God had to meet with them and remind them it was a mistake.

      Isn’t that the root of all the problems we see in this world today? People are always trying to gain something they don’t have. Something they think they should have. It started out with something simple, a piece of fruit and grew from there. Abraham faced the same problem with Sarah. Once Sarah learned about the plan of salvation, she thought she had to take matters into her own hands. She didn’t understand God’s power. The easiest solution at the time was for Abraham to have a son from another wife. Image the emotions involved in that decision. If it didn’t feel like Sarah was getting her rib torn out, she must have had a heart of stone. That had to hurt beyond imagination. In a way, Sarah felt God’s pain as the plan of salvation progressed and He saw how people didn’t understand what He showed them. It seemed like people had to tinker with His plan every step of the way.

      Like Eve, Sarah had to try to fix matters on her own. Their mistake was not consulting God before taking action. After making her decision, then finding out it was wrong, Sarah made the same mistake. She tried fixing the problem herself. She sent Abraham’s second wife and his firstborn son, Ismael away. Sarah introduced another emotion that leads to poor decisions, jealousy.

      God’s plan wasn’t changed by Sarah’s attempts to make it better or move it along a little faster. But that pattern didn’t stop with Sarah. Abraham had a second son with his first wife Sarah, just like God planned. There was one story where Abraham was told to sacrifice his son Isaac. It didn’t make sense to go through all that trouble, then sacrifice Issac. God sent Abraham on a long journey to a mountain. This gave Abraham time to look back on all the details about his life. Another important lesson about Bible Study. If we don’t take time to look at our lives and how everything we’ve been taught fits together, we are missing part of the lesson. Once Abraham understood what God was showing him up to that point, it was time to move forward. Not only was the sacrifice of his son an object lesson, God had a surprise for Abraham.

      Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. At that moment the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Yes,” Abraham replied. “Here I am!” “Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.” Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son. (Genesis 22:10-13 NLTse).

      That ram pointed to the type of substitute God needed to teach this world about. Eve tried to fix the problem with her version of a substitute. Sarah tried to introduce her version of a substitute. Neither one of the fit God’s plan.

      Isaac married Rebekah. Abraham sent a servant to find a wife for Isaac. He had to pay a large sum of money to buy Rebekah. That had implications that took a toll later in Jacob’s encounter with Rebekah’s family. Rebekah had twins, which introduced a new complication. People had traditions that basically gave the majority of the father’s inheritance to the firstborn son. Later God introduced this concept through Moses. Jacob and his brother Esau were born minutes apart, but Esau came out first. After they grew up, Rebekah loved Jacob more than Esau and saw how Jacob loved God. As far as Rebekah was concerned, Jacob was the only choice to receive Isaac’s blessing and inheritance.

      Didn’t Rebekah think God saw what happened? Didn’t Rebekah realize God planned the birth of her twin sons and the order they were born? Rebekah didn’t realize that was all a test of her faith. She was too busy making her own plans to listen to God. Hence, we have another example of a simple rule of Bible Study. Take time to listen to God and look for the unexpected. When we look back on those stores, we can see how simple God’s plan was as well as lessons taught through each experience. When we take time to study details, we can see how foolish our plans can be and how God will set certain events in motion to teach us lessons designed to draw us closer to God and learn to rely on Him. Once we look back on what those lessons have in common, we can’t help but see, each of them is a way God is asking each of those people to talk with Him. Can the lessons get any easier than that?

      When Jacob arrived at what was termed as the land in the east where he met Rachel, he opened a new can of worms. Jacob spent seven years working for Laban for Rachel’s hand in marriage. After spending seven years, Jacob never saw how deceitful Laban could be. Laban substituted Leah for Rachael. We can see over all those years, Jacob forgot to talk to God about getting married. Leah gave Jacob six sons. The sons of Leah were Reuben (Jacob’s oldest son), Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. (Genesis 35:23 NLTse). Levi led to Aaron, who was the first priest in the Tabernacle. Judah led to king David.

      Finally, Jacob reached a point of deep depression, worrying about meeting his long lost brother and the safety of his family. Jacob tried to come up with the best plan he could think of. That’s when God had to step in to show Jacob what he was doing. During the night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two servant wives, and his eleven sons and crossed the Jabbok River with them. After taking them to the other side, he sent over all his possessions. This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break. When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket. (Genesis 32:22-25 NLTse). Jacob wasn’t only wrestling with his problems, he was wrestling with God. Jacob was reminded about that lesson with every step he took the rest of his life.

      There is another lesson in a pattern we see with Abraham and Isaac. Abraham began his ministry by traveling, moving at God’s command. When he remained in one place, problems seemed to follow. But when Abraham moved, he was blessed. Then Pharaoh gave Abram many gifts because of her–sheep, goats, cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels. (Genesis 12:16 NLTse). You can read the other examples. Abraham’s son also went through the same sequence of events.

      A severe famine now struck the land, as had happened before in Abraham’s time. So Isaac moved to Gerar, where Abimelech, king of the Philistines, lived. The LORD appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt, but do as I tell you. Live here as a foreigner in this land, and I will be with you and bless you. I hereby confirm that I will give all these lands to you and your descendants, just as I solemnly promised Abraham, your father. When Isaac planted his crops that year, he harvested a hundred times more grain than he planted, for the LORD blessed him. He became a very rich man, and his wealth continued to grow. He acquired so many flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, and servants that the Philistines became jealous of him. (Genesis 26: 1-3, 12-14 NLTse).

      Both times, God sent them there to avoid a famine. Both Abraham and Issac were blessed after following God’s orders. Both times they lied about their wives. You can read the stories yourself. Look at details that are the same or similar, as well as looking at the contrasts. The key here is to notice the relationship between moving, the promised lands, and how they were blessed. As long as they remained moving, and following God’s orders, God blessed them. Even after they made mistakes, God continued to bless them. We will see how this fits into lessons about the Tabernacle and temple later in this book.

      The next one to find himself in Egypt was Jacob’s son Joseph. We have to be careful here and look at details. Joseph wasn’t sent into Egypt in the same manner as Abraham and Isaac. Joseph was carried to Egypt and sold as a slave. The beginning of another lesson. God is making sure we pay attention to details. But God did send Jacob to Egypt. During the night God spoke to him in a vision. “Jacob! Jacob!” he called. “Here I am,” Jacob replied. “I am God, the God of your father,” the voice said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make your family into a great nation. I will go with you down to Egypt, and I will bring you back again. But you will die in Egypt with Joseph attending to you.” (Genesis 46:2-4 NLTse).

      If you know the story about Egypt, bondage, plagues, and the exodus, you know it contains a lot of details as well as symbols. Some apply to the Tabernacle, others apply to other phases of the plan of salvation. The Exodus began with one of the most important stories to understand. We pick up that story in the next chapter.

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Zechariah 6:9-15 Rebuild the Temple

Posted by Ez1 Realty on March 24, 2016

Zechariah 6:9-15 Rebuild the Temple

Zechariah 6:9-15 NLTse Then I received another message from the LORD: (10) “Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah will bring gifts of silver and gold from the Jews exiled in Babylon. As soon as they arrive, meet them at the home of Josiah son of Zephaniah. (11) Accept their gifts, and make a crown from the silver and gold. Then put the crown on the head of Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. (12) Tell him, ‘This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: Here is the man called the Branch. He will branch out from where he is and build the Temple of the LORD. (13) Yes, he will build the Temple of the LORD. Then he will receive royal honor and will rule as king from his throne. He will also serve as priest from his throne, and there will be perfect harmony between his two roles.’ (14) “The crown will be a memorial in the Temple of the LORD to honor those who gave it–Heldai, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Josiah son of Zephaniah.” (15) People will come from distant lands to rebuild the Temple of the LORD. And when this happens, you will know that my messages have been from the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. All this will happen if you carefully obey what the LORD your God says.

Its not hard to see this prophecy relates to building up a spiritual temple. You would think the fulfillment is explained by describing the spiritual temple is made up of Jesus’ followers. But the chapter has to agree with the introduction to Zechariah 6. In the first part of this prophecy, we see three men bringing gold and silver from Babylon to make a crown for Jeshua. In the last study we saw Jeshua was the high priest, and a symbol pointing to Christ. Ezra tells us Jeshua was one of the leaders who left Babylon to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. The workers at the Temple of God were supervised by Jeshua with his sons and relatives, and Kadmiel and his sons, all descendants of Hodaviah. They were helped in this task by the Levites of the family of Henadad. (Ezra 3:9 NLTse). This may make one think the prophecy points to the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. But the next verse jumped forward in time to Christ. Here is the man called the Branch. He will branch out from where he is and build the Temple of the LORD. So you may think the prophecy points to a particular event in Jesus’ ministry. The very next sentence pointed even further. Yes, he will build the Temple of the LORD. Then he will receive royal honor and will rule as king from his throne. Some people may think this pointed to the disciples ministry after Jesus’ resurrection. But Jesus is crowned King after He completes the judgment process. So why does this prophecy seem to cover so many points in time? Most people will think something like this is normal in the Bible. So they take out one little sentence and explain it in their own words, move onto the next, explain that, and so on and so forth. Some people use prophecies like this one to justify their simple form of study referred to in this world as proof texts. But does God scatter around His Words like seeds hoping one or two will sprout while the rest are left to the mercy of birds, thrones, and the sun? We have to give God more credit than that. We have to learn to look deeper into the prophecy to find the consistency God placed there. Man many be happy thinking he creates the consistency, but when we find God’s consistency, we uncover secrets lying below the surface hidden for generations.

We’ve seen this same pattern in the study, Isaiah 60:1-16, Let Your Light Shine, which contained a prophecy which seemed to span generations. In that study we were shown a new method of study in which the introduction of the chapter containing the prophecy mirrored the summation of the chapter containing the fulfillment. It seemed God turned things upside down. That was another prophecy waiting to be fulfilled. It seems orders are reversed when we deal with prophecies that will be fulfilled after the great judgment. Why would God decide to turn things around? Maybe it’s not God. Maybe it’s us who are looking at the fulfillment of prophecy upside down and in the wrong order.

Since this prophecy has so much to do with time, and we know understanding God’s timing is one of the most difficult theories to understand, let’s take a look at the world’s view of time and compare it to God’s concept of time. We wake up in the morning to begin our day of work. We work all day and call it the end of a day in the evening. But God looks at a day in opposite terms of what the world teaches. God’s day begins in the evening. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. (Genesis 1:5 KJV).

This prophecy also deals with worship. But the world’s concept of worship is quite the opposite of what God teaches. People go to church where a finely dressed choir raises their voices to Heaven. Everyone looks up at the brilliant stained glass windows adorning the walls. The ceiling of the church reaches upward drawing people’s attention up to Heaven. Prayers are sent up to Heaven. People look up at a preacher perched high on the podium designed to draw all eyes upward. The preacher’s prays to send his words upward so they will reflect down to reach the ears of the people. Everything in churches is designed to draw people’s attention up. Why are churches designed that way? Jesus explained how to worship. Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. (Luke 18:10-14 KJV).

One man looked up to Heaven and lifted himself up to God, much like church services are designed to do today. The other man would not look up to Heaven, but humbled himself, confessed his sins, and pleaded with God. The Pharisee represents church services today. The other represents the close, personal, one on one relationship, and worship Jesus is looking for. Is He finding it?

The last study also taught us how to look at names to see what they add to the study. The same is true in this case. In this prophecy we see three names. Look at what we find when we pay attention to the unexpected. Those details the world misses.

Heldai H4480 Þà Þà Þ min minni^y minne^y min, min-nee’, min-nay’

For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses: – above, after, among, at, because of, by (reason of), from (among), in, X neither, X nor, (out) of, over, since, X then, through, X whether, with.

Tobijah H2900 ØÕÑÙ ØÕÑ t#o^bi^ya^h t#o^bi^ya^hu^ to-bee-yaw’, to-bee-yaw’-hoo

From H2896 and H3050; goodness of Jehovah; Tobijah, the name of three Israelites and of one Samaritan: – Tobiah, Tobijah.

Jedaiah H3048 ÙÓâ yedaya^h yed-ah-yaw’

From H3045 and H3050; Jah has known; Jedajah, the name of two Israelites: – Jedaiah.

When we combine the meanings of the three names, we see they contain a specific message related to the lesson in this prophecy. After the goodness of Jehovah is (has) known. How does this relate to the prophecy? We can’t see it yet. The hidden lesson says, “after.” Here again we’re faced with a choice. We can follow the course the world follows, or we can learn from scripture to see what goodness from Jehovah this lesson has in store for us. Solomon had a taste of that knowledge. Look how he summed up the first Proverb.

“How long, you simpletons, will you insist on being simpleminded? How long will you mockers relish your mocking? How long will you fools hate knowledge? Come and listen to my counsel. I’ll share my heart with you and make you wise. “I called you so often, but you wouldn’t come. I reached out to you, but you paid no attention. You ignored my advice and rejected the correction I offered. So I will laugh when you are in trouble! I will mock you when disaster overtakes you– when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster engulfs you like a cyclone, and anguish and distress overwhelm you. “When they cry for help, I will not answer. Though they anxiously search for me, they will not find me. For they hated knowledge and chose not to fear the LORD. They rejected my advice and paid no attention when I corrected them. Therefore, they must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way, choking on their own schemes. For simpletons turn away from me–to death. Fools are destroyed by their own complacency. But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.” (Proverbs 1:22-33 NLTse).

One of the chapters this prophecy leads us to is Hebrews 6. Zechariah 6:9-15 deals with rebuilding the temple during different periods of time. Hebrews 6:19-20 focus on one event when Jesus entered into the Most Holy located in the inner Sanctuary. It is the beginning of a new step in the process. Hebrews 6 showed us another series of lessons over a period of time. It begins with an oath or promise given to Abraham. First Abraham was given the promise. Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised. Hebrews jumped ahead to the time it was written. Now when people take an oath, they call on someone greater than themselves to hold them to it. And without any question that oath is binding. Hebrews repeated those key words oath and binding to show how important they are, because that promise exists over many generations. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. Hebrews also pointed to the future. We now have two details which seem unrelated to the world, but God provided a common bond between them. God’s promise and oath and the rebuilding of the temple extend over long periods of time. God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. Neither has the design of the Sanctuary been changed. That is why the Tabernacle and everything in it, which were copies of things in heaven, had to be purified by the blood of animals. But the real things in heaven had to be purified with far better sacrifices than the blood of animals. For Christ did not enter into a holy place made with human hands, which was only a copy of the true one in heaven. He entered into heaven itself to appear now before God on our behalf. (Hebrews 9:23-24 NLTse).

Hebrews 6:13-20 NLTse For example, there was God’s promise to Abraham. Since there was no one greater to swear by, God took an oath in his own name, saying: (14) “I will certainly bless you, and I will multiply your descendants beyond number.” (15) Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised. (16) Now when people take an oath, they call on someone greater than themselves to hold them to it. And without any question that oath is binding. (17) God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. (18) So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. (19) This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. (20) Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.

The spiritual rebuilding of the Temple could not take place on earth. It can only take in the Heavenly Sanctuary where Christ returned to minister. That is why this world cannot understand God’s plan of salvation. They have been trained by self proclaimed spiritualists to look at the world for answers. Spiritualism has a grip on this world it cannot see because it hides behind a cloak. It is camouflaged like a leopard, blending into the back ground. People don’t see themselves practicing spiritualism because they don’t see themselves relying on their inner being. Spiritualism has many forms. Most people are familiar with two forms. The first is easy to see. Spiritualist claim to talk to the dead. The Bible tells us, The living at least know they will die, but the dead know nothing. They have no further reward, nor are they remembered. (Ecclesiastes 9:5 NLTse). When the Bible tells us the dead know nothing and the world tells us the dead are living in Heaven with God and they claim to have the power to contact them, who should be believe? Let’s check the context of Ecclesiastes 9.

This, too, I carefully explored: Even though the actions of godly and wise people are in God’s hands, no one knows whether God will show them favor. Better to have wisdom than weapons of war, but one sinner can destroy much that is good. (Ecclesiastes 9:1, 18 NLTse). Ecclesiastes 9 teaches us about that spiritual battle all around us. When God tells us the dead know nothing, He is telling us not to listen to them. The world tells us just the opposite. Lessons on that spiritual battle continue in the Psalms.

For the dead do not remember you. Who can praise you from the grave? (Psalms 6:5 NLTse). The dead not only don’t know a thing, they don’t have a memory or the ability to praise God. So why do people claim they learn how to praise God from dead people? Where is that information coming from. Once again, we see the evidence of that spiritual battle when we check the context of Psalms 6.

O LORD, don’t rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your rage. May all my enemies be disgraced and terrified. May they suddenly turn back in shame.(Psalms 6:1, 10 NLTse). Other Psalms repeat the same lesson.

Are your wonderful deeds of any use to the dead? Do the dead rise up and praise you? Can those in the grave declare your unfailing love? Can they proclaim your faithfulness in the place of destruction? Can the darkness speak of your wonderful deeds? Can anyone in the land of forgetfulness talk about your righteousness? “What will you gain if I die, if I sink into the grave? Can my dust praise you? Can it tell of your faithfulness?” The dead cannot sing praises to the LORD, for they have gone into the silence of the grave. (Psalms 88:10-12, 30:9, 115:17 NLTse).

Speaking to the dead is not as popular today as it was in the past. Only a small number of people use that from of spiritualism, which is easy to detect. Another from of spiritualism, usually adopted from eastern teachings deals with self reliance, contacting ones inner self. It is a popular belief widely accepted by western cultures under the disguise of theories like looking out for number one. It became so popular, churches began adopting different forms of this philosophy to capture they vast numbers of people flocking to this new age movement which promised prosperity. Churches us this philosophy behind the scenes to control those large groups of people they attract. It would be too easy to see spiritualism if they taught people to rely on their inner being. So the enemy described in Psalms, placed it a step further down where fewer people are able to recognize it. Church boards and leaders adopted that eastern from of spiritualism called self reliance. They rely on themselves to come up with answers. They search for an answer to solve a multitude of problems. They search for one method of teaching to reach masses. They rely on themselves to create rules pleasing to most people. They create interpretations to prophecies designed to scare the stuffing out of people. Look at those prophecies they claim are real. Those religious leaders have no fear of claiming the interpretations came from the world. This country fits this symbol. That country explains that symbol. They provide interpretations to scripture and symbols with physical evidence taken from the world and offer no other proof than to ask people to trust in their self proclaimed wisdom. That is spiritualism at its worse. Modern spiritualists rely on themselves and world events to interpret the Bible and teach people to rely on them. That’s why people can’t see the from of spiritualism running wild in churches today. Spiritualist teach people to rely only on things they can see, touch, and hear. That’s why people have forgotten how to rely on God’s Spirit and cannot see the spiritual lessons in God’s Word.

The prophecy in Zechariah 6 tells us about the rebuilding of the Temple over a period of time. Hebrews 6 tells us about Jesus’ ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary when He enters into the Most Holy. Hebrews explains why Jesus entered into the Most Holy. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. That is one reason. There are other details to learn. Jesus replaced the Levitical priesthood. This new system was established with a solemn oath. Aaron’s descendants became priests without such an oath, but there was an oath regarding Jesus. For God said to him, “The LORD has taken an oath and will not break his vow: ‘You are a priest forever.'” Because of this oath, Jesus is the one who guarantees this better covenant with God. (Hebrews 7:20-22 NLTse). Hebrews also explained why Jesus replaced to old form of priesthood. Unlike those other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins. The law appointed high priests who were limited by human weakness. But after the law was given, God appointed his Son with an oath, and his Son has been made the perfect High Priest forever. (Hebrews 7:27-28 NLTse).

Jesus entered the Most Holy to take His position as High Priest. As High Priest, Jesus is able to offer Himself as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. It sounds simple doesn’t it? It always is when we allow scripture to explain scripture. Not only was the Temple rebuilt, but the system within it. Not rebuild on worldly terms, but spiritual terms all of us can understand. The earthly forms of sacrifice along with the worldly way of understanding has passed away. Now we look to Heaven for the answers. Jesus not only entered the Most Holy but opened a direct path for us to God’s throne. And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. For he says, “This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the LORD: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” Then he says, “I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds.” And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices. And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. (Hebrews 10:15-25 NLTse).

There is a relationship between the remission or forgiveness of sin and a direct connection with God. I can’t explain it. No teacher in this world can explain that relationship between the forgiveness we receive from Jesus and the direct path to God’s throne He opened for us, other than what we’ve been shown in God’s Word. Jesus died for both of them. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. The only thing we can determine based on the details we’ve been given is, Jesus’ blood cleanses us so we are able to approach God’s throne. To find out more about that connection, you’ll have to claim that promise, along with the blood Jesus shed for you, and approach God’s throne on your own.

That’s why you’ll never see anyone in corporate worship approach God’s throne. That’s because they’ll have to confess each sin before claiming Jesus’ blood to cleanse them. They cannot approach God’s throne until they are cleansed. Who do you know is willing to publicly confess each sin so they can approach God’s throne in public? No one I know. But that should not stop them from teaching you Hebrews 10. As a matter of fact, Hebrews 10 directs us to teach people. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. We’re supposed to meet together to motivate one another so each of us knows why Jesus shed His blood and each of us knows how to boldly approach God’s throne. This is not a matter only discussed in board rooms or reserved for specially educated people. This is a right Jesus died for that everyone needs to learn. This is a part of the rebuilding process in the Heavenly Sanctuary. Paul told us God’s Spiritual house is for all of us. Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2:20-22 NLTse).

Those three names in Zechariah 6 lead us in the right direction. We have to learn from God. If there is any doubt, look at the introductions to the two chapters and ask questions. Pray, have Jesus’ blood cleanse you, approach God’s throne and ask Him.

Zechariah 6:1-8 NLTse Then I looked up again and saw four chariots coming from between two bronze mountains. (2) The first chariot was pulled by red horses, the second by black horses, (3) the third by white horses, and the fourth by powerful dappled-gray horses. (4) “And what are these, my lord?” I asked the angel who was talking with me. (5) The angel replied, “These are the four spirits of heaven who stand before the Lord of all the earth. They are going out to do his work. (6) The chariot with black horses is going north, the chariot with white horses is going west, and the chariot with dappled-gray horses is going south.” (7) The powerful horses were eager to set out to patrol the earth. And the LORD said, “Go and patrol the earth!” So they left at once on their patrol. (8) Then the LORD summoned me and said, “Look, those who went north have vented the anger of my Spirit there in the land of the north.”

I had to pray about Zechariah 6:1-8 for a few days before I was ready to hear what it means. The world has a hundred interpretations on Zechariah 6:1-8. They look at the symbols of the chariots and horses and look for something in the world to explain their spiritual meaning. By doing so, they misinterpret their spiritual meaning and completely miss the lesson. Zechariah did the only smart thing he could do. He asked the angel who came from Heaven. The angel replied, “These are the four spirits of heaven who stand before the Lord of all the earth. They are going out to do his work.” You have to ask what work they are going to do. The angel told Zechariah those chariots and horses will go out in all four directions. We can see they are going through the whole world. What are they doing? The powerful horses were eager to set out to patrol the earth. And the LORD said, “Go and patrol the earth!” So they left at once on their patrol. What does it mean to patrol? Remember, we are in a spiritual battle. When a commander sends people out on patrol, they don’t confront the enemy. Their roll is to remain unseen. Get it? How can those symbols represent anything in this world we can see, hear, and touch if they God them to go out and patrol? The original Hebrew word has a great variety of applications, literally and figuratively. The main thought is to walk and carry a message. What is that message?

The only hint Zechariah gave us is in the last sentence. Then the LORD summoned me and said, “Look, those who went north have vented the anger of my Spirit there in the land of the north.” When we look at the spiritual meaning of north we see why God’s anger is vented in only one direction. “How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the morning! You have been thrown down to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world. For you said to yourself, ‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north. I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.'” (Isaiah 14:12-14 NLTse). Satan claims the north as his throne. Whatever message God’s Chariots and horses are carrying is not going to be accepted in the north. How do we find what that message is? Since we are working on parallel chapters, one with a prophecy, the other with its fulfillment, the introduction to Hebrews 6 would be the most logical place to look.

Hebrews 6:1-12 NLTse So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. (2) You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. (3) And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding. (4) For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened–those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, (5) who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come– (6) and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame. (7) When the ground soaks up the falling rain and bears a good crop for the farmer, it has God’s blessing. (8) But if a field bears thorns and thistles, it is useless. The farmer will soon condemn that field and burn it. (9) Dear friends, even though we are talking this way, we really don’t believe it applies to you. We are confident that you are meant for better things, things that come with salvation. (10) For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do. (11) Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. (12) Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.

We can see the message in the key words. Teaching, understanding, instruction, and enlightened explain the basics. Hebrews fills in some of the details with other key words. We need to mature and move forward in the power of the age to come. Hebrews tells us to move on from the basic teachings about Christ. Hebrews 6 tells us to get off the same subjects we hear preached time and time again like some kind of repetitious prayer which avails nothing. God looks at that kind of teaching as if it were nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame.

Now that we know the message is new and where to get that message from, directly from God’s throne, we know what those symbolic chariots and horses are looking for, people willing to learn. Are you one of them? How many people do you think they’ll find? Look back at a few other stories when God searched the world for people to learn. It began with Adam and Eve. We saw the first results with their first two sons. Cain the oldest killed Able the younger. There was one left, and Cain was not willing to learn. Moses could only find eight people, including himself to learn the message he was given to preach. In Sodom, those angels could only find four people. One short of saving the city. The trend continued. When Jesus was born, only two prophets knew the Messiah was born and where to find Him. When Jesus died, it seemed no one understand His ministry or why He had to die on that cross. This world just doesn’t want to listen. How many people do you think those chariots and horses are going to find who are ready, willing, and able to learn? How many are going to fall victim to that power from the north? There are a lot of questions to ask when you approach God’s throne.

There is another chapter with some interesting details you can study on your own. Are you willing to approach God’s throne to ask about it? Do you have an angel standing next to you waiting to explain details? Or are you stuck on the same old way of doing things? Are you comfortable learning from one of those spiritualists? The choice is yours which side of the spiritual battle you are going to serve on.

Hebrews 8:1-6 NLTse Here is the main point: We have a High Priest who sat down in the place of honor beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven. (2) There he ministers in the heavenly Tabernacle, the true place of worship that was built by the Lord and not by human hands. (3) And since every high priest is required to offer gifts and sacrifices, our High Priest must make an offering, too. (4) If he were here on earth, he would not even be a priest, since there already are priests who offer the gifts required by the law. (5) They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. For when Moses was getting ready to build the Tabernacle, God gave him this warning: “Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain.” (6) But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises.

Hebrews 8:7-13 NLTse If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it. (8) But when God found fault with the people, he said: “The day is coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. (9) This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and led them out of the land of Egypt. They did not remain faithful to my covenant, so I turned my back on them, says the LORD. (10) But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day, says the LORD: I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. (11) And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the LORD.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already. (12) And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” (13) When God speaks of a “new” covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear.

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Malachi 4:5-6 Sending You the Prophet Elijah

Posted by Ez1 Realty on March 22, 2016

Malachi 4:5-6 Sending You the Prophet Elijah

Malachi 4:5-6 NLTse “Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the LORD arrives. (6) His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse.”

I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks, the last study in this series of books. Not because the task is complete. I am looking forward to getting back into the gospels and begin work on Luke and then John. There is still so much work to do and so much to learn. Yes this has been a learning process for me. I have to admit, about 90% of what is in this book, I saw for the first time when I compared all those parallel chapters and prayed about the spiritual links and lessons. Then it was just a matter of writing.

His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. This explains my deepest thoughts and emotions while working on these books about the prophecies Jesus fulfilled. It has been like working with a kind, gentile, loving father at my side every step of the way. But I know there are a lot of details I missed, and some I forgot to include. Other details were just too difficult to explain. But I understand there are just some things God wanted to sit down and personally explain to you. That’s just the way He works. After all, if you’re a parent, you know there are certain things you have to teach on a one on one basis. I hope you know there are things in this world only you can teach your child. And if you let those opportunities slip by, the world will jump in and take your place.

Can you image a day when fathers hearts will turn to their children and children will respond with love and understanding? The Bible of course gives us an example to learn from. And of course those lessons are often taught using contracts. Luke is the only author who mentioned Zechariah, so we will use Luke 1 as a parallel chapter.

Luke 1:13-20 NLTse But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John. (14) You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, (15) for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. (16) And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God. (17) He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.” (18) Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.” (19) Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news! (20) But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time.”

The first thing the key words point out in the fulfillment recorded in Luke 1 is, an angel came to talk to Zechariah. It was the angel Gabriel. The same angel who delivered messages to Daniel. The angel didn’t bother to introduce himself until after Zechariah expressed doubt. Then it was too late. Zechariah expressed something we need to pay attention to.

We see a pattern in the Bible. God sent Gabriel to deliver some important messages. We see that based on the general rule of repetition. This prophecy about the power of Elijah was also repeated. Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting, “Clear the way through the wilderness for the LORD! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God! Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills. Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places. Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together. The LORD has spoken!” (Isaiah 40:3-5 NLTse).

When we pay attention to what is recorded, we see Gabriel shared this information based on scripture with Zechariah before he expressed doubt. Lesson number one. If Zechariah had studied scripture with an open mind and God’s Spirit by his side, he would have understood Isaiah’s prophecy as well as Malachi’s. Two strikes.

We can see the third strike when we understand Zechariah’s prayer for a son. We learn a great deal of details by looking back a few verses. One day Zechariah was serving God in the Temple, for his order was on duty that week. As was the custom of the priests, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense. While the incense was being burned, a great crowd stood outside, praying. (Luke 1:8-10 NLTse).

Zechariah was a priest. A very responsible priest trusted with important tasks. Notice what he was doing. Zechariah was taking care of the incense in the temple. The texts even goes as far as mentioning prayers to point us to the spiritual meaning of incense. And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. (Revelation 5:8 NLTse). There are great lessons to learn once we see how and why that incense was moved from a worldly temple to the Heavenly Sanctuary.

What was Zechariah’s prayer for a son? Since the word father is repeated a number of times, we need to consider what father’s usually pray for. There are two main prayers fathers offer for their children, especially sons. One is to pray their sons are able to accomplish much more than themselves and to live an easier, more enjoyable life. The other prayer is to have a son to carry on the family business. In this case, Zechariah was a priest. Neither one of those prayers fit into God’s plans. Zechariah’s son was not going to be a priest, like the other priests, and his father. And Zechariah’s son was not going to have an easy life.

In the eyes of a father, his son is a symbol of living on past the grave. Fathers feel a piece of themselves will live on in their son. Carrying on the same trade is one way of achieving that goal. And that tradition was not found to be stronger in any trade then the Levitical priesthood. It was almost written in stone before John was born. Zechariah was facing a trial much like Abraham offering Isaac as a sacrifice. For John not to become a priest after the Levitical order was like sacrificing his son.

Zechariah needed some time to think about it. There is something strange about someone who can’t talk. People tend to believe they can’t hear. But Zechariah heard everything around him. He heard what people thought and the gossip they were capable of spreading. Silence was a tool God used to lift the blinders from Zechariah’s eyes. Zechariah heard people talking about how they thought he was cursed. They assumed Zechariah did something wrong in the temple and God was punishing him. Zechariah thought, “how could I be cursed? God sent Gabriel to talk to me. God sent the same angel Daniel talked to.” Silence helped Zechariah to fine tune his connection with God’s Spirit.

When we see key words like birth and born repeated, we have to look for a spiritual connection. That connection is the end of the Levitical priesthood and the introduction to the form of ministry God always intended and really needed. God sent His Son to this world and Jesus needed some help. Now we learn from the contrast. Gabriel told Zechariah how his son was going to lead people back to God, lead fathers to a real relationship with their children, and prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. Gabriel told Zechariah his son was going to accomplish much more than Zechariah ever dreamed about. See the connection in the contrast. John was going to be a preacher like the world has never seen. Gabriel compared him to Elijah. John was to become a man of words and Zechariah lost his ability to speak. This shows us how one form of preaching will end and another one will begin. That’s why John’s ministry is illustrated as a ministry preaching the Good News, and Zechariah, the old priesthood went silent.

Malachi warned, “Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse.” Zechariah showed us the beginning of that curse. He wanted to pull his son one way when God needed John to move in a new direction. It was an important direction because it concerned His Son. The Son God was sending down here to teach the world how to worship and serve Him. We see a great deal of those details revealed in the introductions.

Malachi 4:1-4 NLTse The LORD of Heaven’s Armies says, “The day of judgment is coming, burning like a furnace. On that day the arrogant and the wicked will be burned up like straw. They will be consumed–roots, branches, and all. (2) “But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture. (3) On the day when I act, you will tread upon the wicked as if they were dust under your feet,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. (4) “Remember to obey the Law of Moses, my servant–all the decrees and regulations that I gave him on Mount Sinai for all Israel.

Sounds like Malachi’s introduction to chapter 4 is telling about the end of the world. The beginning of Jesus’ ministry was the end of the world for some people. Is it? The introduction to every chapter of course establishes its theme and lesson. To understand it better, we can use the help of the five W’s.


the arrogant and the wicked


judgment is coming

will be burned up like straw


We have to look into the rest of the chapter, or the previous chapters to find that answer.


Once again, we have to search for an answer.


Since we already have two unanswered questions, it’s time to look at the previous chapter to see how the author led into this introduction.

Malachi 3:14-18 NLTse “You have said, ‘What’s the use of serving God? What have we gained by obeying his commands or by trying to show the LORD of Heaven’s Armies that we are sorry for our sins? (15) From now on we will call the arrogant blessed. For those who do evil get rich, and those who dare God to punish them suffer no harm.'” (16) Then those who feared the LORD spoke with each other, and the LORD listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and always thought about the honor of his name. (17) “They will be my people,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “On the day when I act in judgment, they will be my own special treasure. I will spare them as a father spares an obedient child. (18) Then you will again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.”

The summary in chapter 3 shows two opposing groups. One thinks they have a way around serving God, while the other group, God listens to. We see that theme carried forward to chapter 4 and into Luke 1. There is another group mentioned in the introduction to chapter 4.


you who fear my name


the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings.

And you will go free

you will tread upon the wicked

obey the Law of Moses


There is only one time mentioned: all the decrees and regulations that I gave him on Mount Sinai for all Israel.


Location is not given.


Is answered in the what.

We can see time and location are universal, beginning when Moses received God’s law at Mount Sinai. Since we can see John’s birth, and of course Jesus’ birth marked a new understanding of that law. The new beginning must also mark the end of an era. Which of course was one of the main themes of Jesus’ ministry on earth.

Luke’s introduction here is the introduction to his book where we see details we need to pay attention to throughout his book. When we read Luke chapter 1, we have to ask, why this story is so important and how it relates throughout his entire book?

Luke 1:1-13 NLTse Many people have set out to write accounts about the events that have been fulfilled among us. (2) They used the eyewitness reports circulating among us from the early disciples. (3) Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I also have decided to write a careful account for you, most honorable Theophilus, (4) so you can be certain of the truth of everything you were taught. (5) When Herod was king of Judea, there was a Jewish priest named Zechariah. He was a member of the priestly order of Abijah, and his wife, Elizabeth, was also from the priestly line of Aaron. (6) Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations. (7) They had no children because Elizabeth was unable to conceive, and they were both very old. (8) One day Zechariah was serving God in the Temple, for his order was on duty that week. (9) As was the custom of the priests, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense. (10) While the incense was being burned, a great crowd stood outside, praying. (11) While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the incense altar. (12) Zechariah was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him. (13) But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John.

First of all, Luke wanted his friend to know the accounts he recorded are accurate. After all, Luke was there to see them. Luke also tells us there are other reports he used from some of the early disciples. Luke carefully investigated every detail before writing.

Luke begins with a date. A date we saw missing in Malachi chapter 4. Luke quickly introduced Zechariah, pointing out he was a priest. Because Luke repeated the word priest, we have to consider the reason why.

Luke also pointed out, Zechariah was an important priest and he was old. He’d been around for a while. Like all priests in his day, Zechariah would have began instructions for his position at a very early age. Zechariah endured rigorous training under the care of Israel’s most honored and trusted priests. In short, Zechariah read the scriptures. But he was taught the accepted interpretations and was not allowed to question, add to, or subtract from those interpretations. Zechariah was, for lack of a better term, brainwashed from birth.

The first new lesson we see God introducing to Zechariah is His timing. Elizabeth was well past child bearing years. They waited together in the twilight of their years for what was to come. Because they didn’t have a son to care for them, they had to put more trust and dependence in the established priestly order to care for them in their old age. Which made it impossible for Zechariah to stray away from the accepted order in any way, shape, or form. Zechariah was stuck – bound to his job and beliefs by dedication and financial concerns.

Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations. It was important for God to find a married couple who both followed His commands. But there was more than just following commands. There had to be more than a search for self righteousness through works. God had to find a couple willing to understand His plan of salvation and teach their son, or allow God to teach their son how to prepare the world for Jesus’ ministry.

What are the connecting factors between the introduction for Malachi 4 and Luke 1? Malachi told us to, “remember o obey the Law of Moses, my servant.” Luke told us, “Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations.” The connection goes beyond God’s law. Malachi talks about a day of judgment. Luke tells us about the day final preparations were made to announce Jesus’ arrival here in earth. This was not only a renewal of the original form of worship, but the beginning of Jesus’ life, ministry, test, and trial to prove He is worthy to judge this world. Jesus had to first prove He could take the worst this world was prepared to throw at Him and pass every test and trial. God’s standards are not lax. They are especially rigid for His Son. You see, God wanted His Son to be just like Him in all ways. Jesus explained that. No one has ever seen God. But the one and only Son is himself God and is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us. Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? (John 1:18, 14:9 NLTse).

No one knows what day Jesus will return to fulfill that portion of His ministry. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear. “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. (Matthew 24:35-36 NLTse). But there are certain steps we have to know before we can understand circumstances related to Jesus’ return. Don’t be concerned about the date. Don’t worry about it and certainly, don’t listen to anyone who claims to know the day and hour. But that does not mean we are supposed to ignore the event and all the details and lessons associated with Jesus’ return. We find a recorded fulfillment in one portion of this prophecy. Part of the prophecy is a lesson. A very important lesson we can understand. Many people preach about that one detail, the power of Elijah. “Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the LORD arrives.” How can we tell which details are correct and which are man made fabrications if we don’t understand the extent of the event?

The main question is, will you be afraid when God pours out a dramatic amount of new information and understanding during those last days? I think most religions preach their own version of the later rain, power of Elijah, a last day Pentecost, a time where people will once again have the gift of prophecy and dreams. The only thing is, I can’t find a verse in the Bible where God told us, He is going to be silent for a time, or withhold His voice until some future time. When I hear people believe God doesn’t talk to this world now, I tell them to tear every page out of their Bible where they find something about God speaking to someone and see how much is left. There may be time that passed when people didn’t listen to God, but that doesn’t mean He wasn’t trying to be heard.

We talked about this study during our meeting today and some important details came out. That’s another way God speaks to us, through His faithful followers. Did you notice, Elizabeth couldn’t get pregnant until Zechariah lost his voice? Look at the texts someone pointed out to me. “Thus has the Lord dealt with me in the days in which he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.” (Luke 1:25 KJ2000). As soon as Zechariah fell silent, he finally entered into a world where he could understand his wife. Elizabeth had to endure her pain and reproach alone in silence. Zechariah had to share that silence to know his wife. Once he knew and shared her pain, she was ready to conceive.

That’s one thing about God’s Word. Once you learn to study with God’s Spirit, there is always more to see and learn. There is no doubt about it. But it is not always easy to share. Having been involved in an institutional church for some time, I know how difficult it is to share. Malachi provided an important detail that will help us understand why. His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse.”

Like God wanted Jesus to be exactly like Himself, fathers want their children, especially sons to grow up exactly like themselves. As we’ve seen in this story about Zechariah, God needed that chain broken. The last thing God wanted was to see was John to grow up like his father. When we see how God teaches with contrasts we can see that lesson. I’ve heard dozens of people tell me, “I am second generation this, or third generation that.” It’s their way of saying, “I already know everything.” They learned from their parents and if their religion was good enough for their parents and grandparents, it is good enough for them. It is the rut Gabriel told Zechariah he had to get out of. Everything Gabriel told Zechariah went against what he had drilled into his head by his father. That’s been a major problem in Christianity for generations. People refuse to move on. That’s why they reject anything and everything new with no additional thought. They have been drilled into thinking their parents and grandparents are lost if they didn’t know everything. It’s sad, but that’s the way people think. It’s really nothing more than an excuse not to move on. The best reason they can come up with not to listen to God’s voice.

Jesus didn’t have His legs broken at the cross because He had places to go and things to do. God knew Jesus was going to move forward. On the other hand, those guilty people on their crosses had their legs broken. They weren’t going anywhere. They died at the cross. They represent a lot of Christian religions stuck at the cross. They want to keep it easy to understand. They use excuses like, “new people may come in.” Don’t they think God is able to get new people up to speed before they walk through that door? There is no excuse to consistently reject new details God is trying to share. No matter how great or small they may be. God always confirms His Word. There is no danger in learning something new. We were created in God’s image and He is our loving Father, who lives to take us as far as we are willing to go and learn as much as we decide to learn. Which brings us to the perfect time to look at and compare the summaries.

Luke 1:56-80 NLTse Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back to her own home. (57) When it was time for Elizabeth’s baby to be born, she gave birth to a son. (58) And when her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had been very merciful to her, everyone rejoiced with her. (59) When the baby was eight days old, they all came for the circumcision ceremony. They wanted to name him Zechariah, after his father. (60) But Elizabeth said, “No! His name is John!” (61) “What?” they exclaimed. “There is no one in all your family by that name.” (62) So they used gestures to ask the baby’s father what he wanted to name him. (63) He motioned for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s surprise he wrote, “His name is John.” (64) Instantly Zechariah could speak again, and he began praising God. (65) Awe fell upon the whole neighborhood, and the news of what had happened spread throughout the Judean hills. (66) Everyone who heard about it reflected on these events and asked, “What will this child turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was surely upon him in a special way. (67) Then his father, Zechariah, was filled with the Holy Spirit and gave this prophecy: (68) “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited and redeemed his people. (69) He has sent us a mighty Savior from the royal line of his servant David, (70) just as he promised through his holy prophets long ago. (71) Now we will be saved from our enemies and from all who hate us. (72) He has been merciful to our ancestors by remembering his sacred covenant– (73) the covenant he swore with an oath to our ancestor Abraham. (74) We have been rescued from our enemies so we can serve God without fear, (75) in holiness and righteousness for as long as we live. (76) “And you, my little son, will be called the prophet of the Most High, because you will prepare the way for the Lord. (77) You will tell his people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins. (78) Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, (79) to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.” (80) John grew up and became strong in spirit. And he lived in the wilderness until he began his public ministry to Israel.

This summary is what I couldn’t wait to get to. Here is where we see one of the most important lessons in this prophecy and its fulfillment. Did you notice something missing? An angel talked to Zechariah. The angel also spoke to Mary. When we check, we see, Joseph had dreams. It seems the only one who didn’t have an angel appearing to them or had a dream was Elizabeth. Look at what she said to praise God. And after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, “Thus has the Lord dealt with me in the days in which he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.” (Luke 1:24-25 KJ2000).

Elizabeth returned to seclusion, to share the pain her husband was experiencing. Being childless, Elizabeth was not looked upon in a positive way by society. Especially in a circle of priests and their wives who were all experts in the law. Being alone opened up a channel to God’s Spirit to alleviate her lonely feeling. Elizabeth didn’t need a miraculous meeting or dream to learn and understand what was happening. She had a direct connection with God she relied on, because she was using it for years. This is the connection fathers need with their sons and with God. The same connection Elizabeth had with God.

I’ve been trying to sell my house for more than a year. I have it priced way below market value and below tax assessed value. People come over, look at the house, but the answer is always the same. They think the yard is too much work. It is a full acre with flower gardens all over. It also has vegetable gardens and fruit trees as well as a wild flower garden. And of course plenty of grass. They say there is too much work for them. To me it is paradise. A place to walk a few steps and meet God in nature. There are a lot of birds, deer, and even a pair of cranes that mate every years. Ducks are in the pond and geese visit, eat, and rest in the corn field up the block. I watch squirrels dodging hawks and falcons. Every year rabbits are all over the yard for a few weeks. Until those baby hawks leave the nest. I look out everyday and watch the balance of life in a sinful world and learn lessons.

All the people who look at the house have kids. I can see, this world is not ready for this study, or the message in Malachi 4. Fathers have no interest in teaching their kids or spending time with them. There is no connection between them. Fathers have no heart to share. All they know is give their children everything they want, then let television, the Internet, and the school system raise their kids. The world has gone from one extreme to the other. This world is not ready for God’s simple message. God is love.

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